Bradford - Aston Villa Preview: Bantams looking to prolong dream Capital One Cup run against Villans
The League Two minnows have proved they can spring a shock by knocking both Wigan and Arsenal out of this competition but will remain underdogs for this semi-final tie
By Tom J Doyle
Darby, Meredith, McHugh, McArdle
Jones, Atkinson, Jones, Doyle
Lowton, Clark, Herd, Lichaj
El Ahmadi, Delph, Westwood, Bennett
Andrew Davies (knee), Luke Oliver (Achilles) and Garry Thompson (knee) are all expected to miss out for Bradford.
However, the Bantams have few other injury worries as they prepare to host Premier League opposition yet again this season.
Paul Lambert, meanwhile, will have to juggle his squad as the Villans have a number of injury problems to contend with across several positions.
Marc Albrighton is doubtful for the clash after injuring his foot against Ipswich but could make the squad whilst Richard Dunne (groin) and Stiliyan Petrov (leukaemia) have no set return dates.
Ron Vlaar (calf) and Nathan Baker (hamstring) should both still be out while long-term absentee Gary Gardner (knee) will be absent until May.
Neither side has any suspensions for the game.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Bradford have an excellent record against Premier League opposition in the Capital One Cup this year, having knocked out both Wigan and Arsenal.
- If the Bantams progress against Aston Villa, they will be the first fourth-tier team to knock out three Premier League teams in the same year.
- Phil Parkinson's men conceded four goals in their last home game, losing 4-2 to Rochdale in League Two.
- This is Bradford's first semi-final cup appearances since making the last four of the FA Cup in 1911. They are 6/1 to progress to the final with bet365.
- Aston Villa have conceded 18 goals in their last five games, including 10 in just two away fixtures.
- The Villans have won every single time they have faced a fourth-tier team in the League Cup - 19 victories in total.
- Gabriel Agbonlahor (pictured, right) has five goals in seven League Cup games.
- This will be Villa's 14th appearance in a League Cup semi-final, a record matched only by Arsenal and Liverpool.
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Top 3 Predictions
Bradford City 1-2 Aston Villa
- 15.7 %
Bradford City 1-3 Aston Villa
- 9.56 %
Bradford City 2-1 Aston Villa
- 9.56 %
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||22 Jan 2013||Aston Villa 2 - Bradford City 1|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||8 Jan 2013||Bradford City 3 - Aston Villa 1|
|1 Dec 2013||Oldham Athletic 1 - Bradford City 1||EFL1|
|26 Nov 2013||Bradford City 1 - Notts County 1||EFL1|
|23 Nov 2013||Milton Keynes Dons 2 - Bradford City 3||EFL1|
|17 Nov 2013||Bradford City 3 - Coventry 3||EFL1|
|9 Nov 2013||Rotherham United 3 - Bradford City 0||FA|
The powerful forward was in excellent form as his side dumped Arsenal out of the competition in the quarter-finals, proving to be a real thorn in the side of Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker. The Villa defence has been shaky at best of late and will not relish facing the athletic striker, who has 15 goals in 31 appearances this term.
The Englishman scored the equaliser against Ipswich on his return to first-team action in the FA Cup, and Paul Lambert could hand him another start at Bradford to test his resolve. The striker may still be on his way during the January transfer window after falling out of favour but he remains a potent threat in front of goal.
Villa's form has fluctuated wildly in all competitions recently, making this tie particularly tricky to predict. Paul Lambert's side also find themselves in the midst of a relegation battle in the Premier League, meaning changes are likely ahead of the trip to Bradford. The Bantams have proved themselves capable of causing a shock on several occasions this season, but the visitors' extra quality should tell on the night.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed