Whilst violence on the streets of London brings with it the spectre of violence on the streets of Leeds tonight’s West Yorkshire derby is still due to take place.
For both sides it offers an opportunity to enjoy some friendly rivalry and to provide a welcome opportunity to put some opening day blues behind them.
Clearly Peter Jackson’s men go into the game as massive underdogs. Languishing at the bottom of the bottom league in the country the Bantams are not expected to make much of an impression against their Championship opponents who are again expected to challenge for promotion back to the Premier League.
The pay day from this game is welcome, the opportunity for players to get another 90 minutes playing with each other is too and we all enjoy the passion and fire that comes with an occasion like this.
However, let’s be honest, we don’t want a protracted cup run, we want promotion. The league is our key priority and even though ‘getting one over’ our nearest and dearest rivals would be great come tomorrow morning the reality is that the bragging rights are almost irrelevant when 40 clubs separate your fortunes.
Tonight will be passionate, tonight will be exciting but ultimately tonight will be meaningless whatever the outcome.
Ritchie Jones is itching for his debut, particularly given he grew up on the terraces of Old Trafford and there’s no love lost between Manchester and Leeds. Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus he said ‘At Manchester United we had quite a few rivals but Leeds were always one of the biggest, so I`d love to play. It`ll be a great game and I`m sure it will be a good battle’. To read the rest of his interview visit the Telegraph & Argus..
At some point this season there’s an expectation to see Jones play alongside player of the season David Syers and Syers has been talking to the Yorkshire Evening Post. It was in the Carling Cup last year that Syers randomly appeared on the bench, and then on the pitch, to score the goal that ultimately took Bradford City into the next round. Although he comes from a family of Leeds fans there’s no question about where his loyalties will lie tonight! Speaking to the YEP he said ‘from their [Leeds’] point of view, it`s one of those banana-skin games where they are supposed to beat us and if they don`t, it looks very bad for them. It`s a great draw for the club, especially with the game being put on Sky and the financial implications of that, which will be of great benefit to the club. It`s a great one for the fans as well. With it being a local derby, it should be an electric atmosphere.’
You can read the rest of his interview on the Yorkshire Evening Post website here.
And Peter Jackson is letting it be known that all the pressure is on Leeds. Listen to his interview with the BBC here.
But former Bantam stalwart Andy O’Brien is in confident mood. Talking about Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Southampton he said to LeedsUnited.com, ‘we didn’t play very well, we didn’t deserve to win and we got the result we deserved, I don’t like saying that, but you have to be honest. They were better than us, but we have no excuses. I was disappointed with my own performance, but there’s not a lot I can do about that now, I can only affect the future.’ And that future involves the visit of Bradford City ‘it won’t be an easy game, but if we can get a foothold in it and play how we can then we should be capable of getting a win.’
Leeds United Team News:
The international fixtures scheduled for this week are playing havoc with Simon Grayson’s plans. Three first team players including Saturday’s goalscorer Max Gradel as well as Robert Snodgrass and Darren O’Dea are unavailable whilst Aidy White is also with his country.
Lucciano Becchio and Davide Somma are also out of contention meaning that Leeds will be somewhat under strength as the Bantams visit Elland Road.
As well as the aforementioned Andy O’Brien there’ll be another familiar face in the line up with Billy Paynter featuring regularly up top for Leeds.
Player to watch: Andy O’Brien
Should the former Bantam play he should expect a warm reaction from the Bantams faithful and will prove a difficult challenge for Mark Stewart to evade as the former Falkirk striker looks to get off the mark.
Bradford City Team News:
After Saturday Peter Jackson is already being forced into making some changes.
Between the sticks injury to Jon McLaughlin keeps him on the sidelines and Martin Hansen has been refused permission by Liverpool to play in the League Cup. In his stead Oscar Jansson, the new arrival from Spurs, will be given a debut.
The defence is still without Simon Ramsden meaning either Luke Moore or Chris Mitchell will play at right back. Luke O’Brien, laughing off rumours of a move to Preston, remains sidelined and Robbie Threlfall will continue. In the middle of defence Lee Bullock tweaked his hamstring so will be replaced by Steve Williams as partner to Guy Branston.
The midfield poses a question for Jackson. If Mitchell is moved into defence then David Syers may be deployed on the wing as the occasion might be too overwhelming for Dominic Rowe. If Syers does move out of the heart of midfield it may give Ritchie Jones room for a debut alongside Michael Flynn. Jack Compton is expected to start on the left flank.
That leaves Mark Stewart and James Hanson to continue working on their partnership up top.
Player to watch: Michael Flynn
Tonight will need the Michael Flynn who takes the game by the scruff of the neck and enforces the midfield both defensively, and when in possession.
The Welshman is needs some rehabilitation amongst sections of the Valley Parade faithful and a match bossing performance tonight could go a long way to achieving that.
Match Facts & Stats
The last time Bradford City went to Elland Road resulted in a disappointing 2-1 defeat courtesy of dubious penalties for them and disallowed goals for us.
In the couple of years that have passed the Bantams have remained rooted firmly in League Two whilst Leeds have looked like regaining football’s top table only to fall short when it mattered most.
The odds are massively in Leeds’ favour. It could be a tough night to be a Bantam.
The referee for tonight is Colin Webster. Read more about him here.
This is the first of three away games for Bradford City:
aturday 13th – Oxford United
uesday 16th – Accrington Stanley
But football returns to Valley Parade on August 20th with the visit of Dagenham & Redbridge