A month into the season and Bradford City make their second attempt to progress beyond the first round of a cup competition against local rivals.
Our previous attempt ended in humiliating fashion at the Galpharm Stadium as Huddersfield Town ran out 4-0 victors but that defeat saw the Bantams’ league form unaffected as they enjoyed back to back 2-0 victories.
However, on Saturday that unbeaten league record came undone at Aldershot Town with injuries sustained to both Matt Clarke and Graeme Lee (although the captain continued with bandaged head). And despite that defeat tonight’s visitors find themselves one point off the top of the table.
Their hosts tonight have been well fancied to take League One by storm but thus far have yet to enjoy league success at Elland Road, a 2-2 draw with Bristol Rovers following up their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Oldham Athletic.
This is a game both sides would love to win but the Bantams go into the game as the underdogs and therefore, possibly with the capacity to spring an upset
Stuart McCall, Bradford City manager, spoke to the Telegraph & Argus before the game with memories of Huddersfield large in his mind and said ‘standing on the touchline for the last 20 minutes that night was really difficult and I don`t want that to be the case again at Elland Road.
Obviously there is that possibility if Leeds play right to the top of their game and we`re under par. But we have to make sure that doesn`t happen.
We played all right for an hour against Huddersfield and then the roof seemed to cave in. We`ve got to guard against that tonight.
It`s about pride because this is still a derby regardless of what league the teams are in. We`ve got to do the best possible for the supporters as well as for ourselves.’
His counterpart, Gary MacAllister, with whom he played in the centre of Scotland’s midfield, said ‘I have a lot of respect for Stuart – we go back a long way, he’s an old room-mate of mine from my Scotland days so I know him very very well.
He was a privilege to play alongside and was part of a Scotland midfield which qualified for three or four major championships, but come Tuesday night we’ll be fighting for the next round.
Promotion is our No 1 target, but we want momentum and confidence from these cups, people from the outside look at this competition – certainly clubs from the top division who are not involved – and don’t know a lot about it but when you see a fixture like this – a big Yorkshire derby – people sit up and take notice.’
Leeds United Team News:
Leeds United will welcombe back Alan Sheehan to the side after he recovered from injury.
Paul Telfer might also be involved after the veteran also shook off a knock whilst in goal Casper Ankergren will have to content himself on the bench as David Lucas keeps his place.
Player to watch: Jermaine Beckford
His goal scoring record says it all, we will definitely have to keep a close eye on him
Bradford City Team News:
Although Matt Clarke’s injury is not as bad as first feared Mark Bower will take his place for a first start of the season.
He has unfairly come in for a lot of stick so far this year but hopefully he will be able to put that to bed with an assured performance alongside Graeme Lee.
With the Bantams competing well on Saturday it is probable that Stuart will make no alterations
Player to watch: Mark Bower
Which camp will be given fuel for their arguments after tonight’s performance?
Hopefully he will be supported for 90 minutes and beyond regardless of what happens on the pitch
Match Facts & Stats
The last time the Bantams visited Elland Road was miserable.
If you really want to find out about it then Google will supply all you need to know.
City travel to Vale Park to play relegated Port Vale, managed by former Bantam Lee Sinnott in what promises to be a great fixture.