football

Weekly sports round up; Fist of Fury: The Sports Buff

By Ayyaz Malik 

Boxing

Manchester-born Tyson Fury spectacularly became a two-time world heavyweight champion after beating American Deontay Wilder with a knockout win in the seventh round.

American fighter Wilder (34) was looking to win this fight between the two men and defend his title for a record 11th time, but as far as Wilder was concerned, that was sadly not to be. 

The former world title who of course came to Yorkshire last year just had no match for the man who calls himself The Gypsy King. Usually, The Bronze Bomber would rely on his power to get him out of trouble in the past, which it has done, fights against fighters like Bermane Stiverne. 

On Sunday morning, however, that golden punch didn’t arrive as Wilder was floored in the third and fifth rounds. In a match that promised so much for both men, it turned out to be Fury who would rise to the occasion. 

Deontay Wilder just wasn’t able to exert any influence on the fight. The only way this one ended was when Wilder’s corner threw the towel on behalf of their fighter to end the fight. The 34-year old seemed initially irked by the decision, but even he later admitted: “the better man won”. 

After the fight, the victorious Fury called out fellow Brit Anthony Joshua, who is the world champion of the three other belts. If the two men do face-off, the winner stands the chance of unifying the belts. 

The last man to do that was fellow Brit Lennox Lewis. As glamorous as a fight between Fury and Joshua could be, both men have a few obstacles to overcome to make the fight happen. 

For two-time champion Joshua, he might need to face mandatory challenger Kubarat Pulev and for Fury, he too might need to face mandatory challenger, Derek Chisora. Tyson Fury might also get lured into a third fight with Deontay Wilder. 

Should we get any news on a potential fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, we will be sure to let you know. 

Football

Champions Manchester City strengthened their grip on second place with a hard-fought 1-0 win over third-placed Leicester City. City did miss a penalty through record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, but strike partner Gabriel Jesus was able to score the vital goal to give The Citizens the win. 

Neighbours Manchester United were able to capitalise on Tottenham’s slip up (a 2-1 defeat by Chelsea) as they beat struggling Watford 3-0. The win for The Red Devils sees Ole’s men back up to fifth, just three points behind Chelsea. 

As for Watford, The Hornets now appeared to be set for relegation, which some would have thought wouldn’t have happened when boss Nigel Pearson became the third manager to take the Vicarage Road hot seat this season. 

Looking forward

There are other things to look out for in the world of sport such as the start of the Pakistan Super League. The tournament, which is in its fifth year, is just five games in, and already seems to be set for a tournament to remember. 

Players such as Alex Hales, Luke Ronchi and Colin Monroe will be competing in Pakistan’s domestic cricket showpiece, providing evidence that Pakistan can host a cricket tournament to a decent standard. 

In the early stages, all matches will be played in Lahore and Karachi. 

In the rugby, beaten world cup-finalists England, ended Ireland’s grand slam hopes with a 24-12 win at Twickenham. Eddie Jones, who got embroiled in a race row this week, would have been delighted to have been able allow his actions on the rugby field take centre stage.

The kicking of the ever reliable Owen Farrell, helped  England open up a commanding 17-0 half time lead. The Irish did rally in the second half, but Eddie Jones’ England held on to move into second in the table and leaving France as the only side who could could achieve the Grand Slam.

See you same time next week. Before we go, please be sure to check the weekly sports round up video here;  https://www.smartlightpeople.com/others/fury-dismantles-wilder-weekly-sports-round-up-the-sports-buff/.

The Sports Buff sports round up: Manchester City face two year ban

By Ayyaz Malik (The Sports Buff)

Football 

Premier League champions Manchester City, have sensationally been banned from European football for two seasons, after being found guilty of breaching financial fair play. The Citizens, who have also been handed a £30 million fine on top, join top clubs such as Paris Saint Germain (fined £30 million) and AC Milan (banned for one season) in being punished for similar breaches.

In the case of Italian giants Milan, they are serving their ban this season, but with the former six-time Champions League winners, enduring a difficult season domestically, it appears like that AC Milan, will be absent from European football for two years at least.

Manchester City, have been given 10 days by the footballing governing bodies to appeal, if not the ban will stand. This landmark decision will send shock waves across the game, and serve as a warning to other teams like recent big spending Barcelona, to name just some clubs.

On the pitch, City’s rivals Liverpool continued their relentless pursuit of this year’s Premier League with yet another win, this time against relegation-threatened Norwich.

The Canaries, who boast a very youthful squad, gave the champions-elect a scare, but Sadio Mane, with another late goal, helped The Reds on their to opening a 25 point lead at the top.

Defending champions Manchester City face West Ham on Wednesday. The last two weekends of fixtures have been halved of course, and that’s been due to this season being the first season that the winter break is getting trialled.

With the Premier League arguably won by Liverpool, the race for second and the race for fourth spot, couldn’t be tighter. Leicester City, this year’s surprise package are just a point behind City (but they have played a game more).

Chelsea, who faced Manchester United at home on Monday, are just one point above Tottenham overcame Aston Villa 3-2, in what was an entertaining game at Villa Park. The Blues going into their game against The Red Devils, knew that only a win would suffice as Jose’s Spurs, look to make an assault on the top four.

North London rivals, Arsenal racked up an impressive 4-0 win against Newcastle, to give manager Mikel Arteta his biggest win since he took charge at The Emirates Stadium. That win took The Gunners into the top half of the table, and it will be hoped by Arteta, that this win, will signify a European push.

Cricket

England’s cricketers after beating South Africa 3-1 in the test series, also came out on top in the T20 series winning 2-1, after winning a thrilling match decider. After winning the toss, new South Africa captain Quinton De Kock elected to bat.

The decision by the new Proteas skipper, seemed to be the correct one as the home side racked up 222-6. England were facing a difficult task, but not impossible and so it proved.

After the early loss of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow were able to hit half-centuries (57&64 respectively) to help the England run-chase to get back on track. When Jos Buttler was out for a well constructed 57, this sparked a mini-collapse.

Bairstow (64), who would end up top-scoring for the tourists, fell as well as Dawid Malan which meant England had a mini-collapse and were in danger of a mini-collapse, but captain Eoin Morgan (57 not out) and Ben Stokes (22), helped England win a thrilling run chase by five wickets.

There is more cricket to come, especially in the way of T20. The Pakistan Super League returns for another year. Unlike last year, this year’s tournament will be in Pakistan, unlike last year where the latter stages of the tournament was held in Pakistan and the earlier stages in Qatar.

Here, I Ayyaz Malik (The Sports Buff) will give you a weekly insight into the world of sport, every week. Do look out for my videos The Sports Buff sports round up: Manchester City face two year ban see you next week for more!

 

Dan The Man For England

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A last-gasp Daniel Sturridge goal helped England get their Euro 2016 campaign back on track as The Three Lions edged out Wales 2-1 in a game that was dubbed ‘the battle of Britain’. England came into this game knowing that one result was only really going to suffice, victory.

For football fans from the UK, much build-up wouldn’t have been needed for this game, but with Slovakia defeating Russia yesterday the pressure on England to win grew even more.

Coming into the game Wales who impressively beat Slovakia in the last game after being pegged back, made two changes to their side. Jonny Williams and Dave Edwards made way for Hal Robson-Kane and Joe Ledley respectfully.

As for England,their team showed no changes in a match that anything other than a win would see the Three Lions all but knocked out of the tournament. The match itself in the early stages after quite a big build up, disappointed as England struggled to assert themselves in the game and Wales were looking a little nervous.

The 1996 semi-finalists were lacking a cutting edge and an end product for all their possession they were having. Raheem Sterling though however, who was later taken off had a glorious chance to put his side in front after skying over when well place to convert Adam Lallana’s centre.

That miss, though, however, wasn’t going to be costly for the English. There was a scare for England before hand as Wales’ star player Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a stunner of a free-kick.

Just like in the Slovakia game, England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s positioning was questionable as a free-kick from some 40 yards shouldn’t be really finding the back of the net.

England were no doubt a bit rattled, manager Roy Hodgson who has a wealth of experience, really needed to draw upon that now as his side were staring down the barrel.

Roy’s men were in need of a good team talk, some might even say a ‘Carlsberg team-talk’. One thing was for certain if the score stayed the same England would have been all but out of the tournament.

If you are of the England persuasion, however, you would be happy in the knowledge that didn’t happen. Knowing England needed to change the momentum of the game. Hodgson made what would turn out to be two very inspirational substitutions.

In the first-half Wales’ back three weren’t tested enough, but with the introduction of subs Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy, England had more pace in the side and were eventually starting to ask questions of the Welsh backline.

Sturridge, in particular, seemed to make his intent clear, he wanted to be more direct. Although the Liverpool man saw a few speculative efforts go well over the bar initially, the former Manchester City and Chelsea would make go on to make a key contribution in the end.

Fellow sub-Jamie Vardy would help get England back into the game by scrambling in an equaliser. That goal was the least England deserved at that point, from that point onwards there only looked to be one winner, England.

Wales who hadn’t offered much going forward were in need of a firm rearguard to keep out the wave after wave of England attacks. The Welsh were getting deeper and deeper in their own half after the England attacks intensified.

An England winner looked inevitable and the winner duly came from the boot of Daniel Sturridge, in the 92nd minute. From sadness, the English fans were ecstatic as their team pulled off a dramatic injury time win.

Quite a different story from the Russia game, what a difference a week makes.

The Juan And Only

Manchester United's players celebrate their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.

Manchester United’s players celebrate their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.

Juan Mata scored twice as Manchester United ruined Steven Gerrard’s final Merseyside derby with a just about deserved 2-1 win in the big Sunday lunchtime game.

The hosts who’s last defeat came against the Red Devils in December, were unchanged – which meant club captain Gerrard would have to come off the bench to appear in this one. As for the visitors United who looked to have returned to form after an impressive win over Tottenham last week, they make just the single change as Ashley Young comes in – but the returning Angel Di Maria who was sent off in the FA Cup against Arsenal starts this one from the bench.

As for the match itself, United got out of the blocks the quicker. The visitors midfield of Fellaini, Carrick, Mata and Young were slick in their passing – and were operating at the tempo which blew away Tottenham last week.

Liverpool had no answer – and despite having the majority of the possession, it was indeed Louis Van Gaal’s side who looked more fluent in attack – and it was a little of surprise that United would take the lead in the 14th minute.

Juan Mata who was brilliant in last weeks win at Old Trafford, was equally as brilliant here. The Spaniard who had been subject of transfer speculation at the start of the season , latched on to a fantastic Ander Herrera through ball- and beat the on rushing Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with a brilliantly placed finish into the bottom corner.

The visitors at the point were in complete control – but rather naively took their foot off the pedal, which allowed the hosts to come back into the game. After going a goal down Liverpool’s response was good as Adam Lalana missed a great chance to level the scores before halftime.

The former Southampton captain who earned a reputation for scoring goals by arriving late in the box did that here – but disappointingly fired wide when maybe he should have scored. That missed chance was one of the last bits of action of the first half as United went in at the break a goal up.

Liverpool who have been in brilliant for since that defeat to United were in dire need of shaking things up in midfield. So who better to bring on at the start of the second half than club legend Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool skipper who has only just returned from a hamstring injury, would have been determined to end his associations in Merseyside derbies on a high – but there was no fairy tale ending for the Liverpool captain here.

Gerrard who was brought on to provide a calmness into the Liverpool midfield that was lacking the first half, inexcusably lost his head – and was sent off. The 34 year old Gerrard who had barely been on the pitch for more than two minutes was involved in a 50/50 challenge with United’s Herrera – and then rather foolishly stamped on the United midfielder’s leg, which didn’t go unnoticed, all be it with some assistance by the referee’s assistant.

That Red card was to prove costly as Juan Mata scored with a wonderful goal to apparently put the game beyond doubt. The Spaniard started a well worked move – and the 28 year old passed to Di Maria which lead to the Argentine to provide a well judged chip over the Liverpool defence – and set Juan Mata up to acrobatically place a left strike in the bottom corner of Mignolet’s goal.

With the game seeming out of Liverpool’s reach, United became complacent – and despite having 10 men it was Liverpool who looked the better side, despite having 10 men. The visitors sloppiness allowed Daniel Sturridge to pull a goal back with a near post strike, which David De Gea maybe could have done better with.

Fortunately for United there were no more goals in this one. The visitors did have time to win a penalty in the dying minutes as Emre Can clumsily brought down Daley Blind in the box. The resulting penalty kick was missed however as Wayne Rooney’s kick was at a nice height for Liverpool keeper Mignolet to save.

Advantage United then in the ‘rat race’ for fourth, as Man United manager Van Gaal put it -but with both sides needing to play the big sides such as Arsenal and Chelsea, the race for fourth isn’t over just yet.The

Fleetwood Fight Back Hits Bradford’s Hopes

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams - but couldn't prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead was on target for the Bantams – but couldn’t prevent his side drawing against Fleetwood.

Two late goals from Fleetwood meant that the Lancashire side came back from Valley Parade with a point, after being two goals down. The result against the ‘Cod Army’ leaves the Bantams in 12th, all be it with two games in hand on their play off rivals.

Bradford who missed the chance of a Wembley date earlier in the week with an agonising FA Cup replay defeat against Reading had Filipe Morais unavailable for this one. The former Chelsea man’s sending off in that defeat on Monday night means the 29 year old will have to sit out of this one.

As for the visitors Fleetwood they could call on Stephen Dobbie, after the midfielder was previously unavailable.

After enduring the heart ache of missing out on a chance of a Wembley date with Arsenal, the Bantams came into this one in determined fashion – and it was of no surprise when the home side took the lead.

Jonathan Stead who was a key part in the memorable FA Cup opened the scoring. Fleetwood keeper Chris Maxwell wasn’t able to hold on to a Billy Clarke cross, which allowed Stead to score.

The opening goal was a reward for Bradford’s dominance – and it was of little surprise when the home side double their lead. Christopher Routis who replaced the suspended Morais doubled the hosts lead. Routis managed to squeeze in James Hanson’s far post cross – and at that point the Bantams looked in complete control – but that goal seemed to spark Fleetwood to life.

The visitors who were dominated, managed to pull a goal back when Jamie Proctor pulled a goal back when he headed in Tyler Hornby- Forbes’ cross. Despite the disappointment of conceding that goal, you still would have back Bradford to see the game out – but unfortunately for the home fans Fleetwood’s Nathan Pond had the last say as the Fleetwood man scored in stoppage time after an all mighty scramble.

Two apiece it finished then – but this result will be a better result for the visitors no doubt. Having said that Bradford aren’t out of the promotion race just as they do have two games in hand on their play off rivals – but more dropped points in a fiercely competitive play off race is never ideal.

Determined Blackburn Earn FA Cup Replay Against Liverpool

Liverpool v Blackburn Rovers - FA Cup Quarter Final

Championship side Blackburn produced a dogged display to hold Premiership side Liverpool to a goalless draw in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Blackburn came into this one in confident mood after dumping out Premier League side Stoke 4-1 in the last round.

The visitors Blackburn who are 11th in the Championship again had Jordan Rhodes on the bench, which has lead to speculation that the Scottish International could be loaned out to promotion chasing Derby County.

Blackburn captain Matt Kilgallon who was full of praise for stand in Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson before the game also starts.

As for the home side Liverpool who have been in brilliant form of late, they didn’t have club captain Steven Gerrard in their match day squad as the 34 year old recovers fully from a hamstring injury.

Other than that bit of news the Reds had very much the same team that has been instrumental in their impressive revival after a very poor start to the season. Liverpool are now fifth in the Premier League respectively – and are now with in touching distance of fourth place Manchester United.

Despite there being some 25 league places separating the two sides, it was Blackburn who started brightly. Craig Conway fired over for the visitors early on as the visitors didn’t appear to be intimidated by their premeir League opponnents. Kolo Toure who replaced fellow central defender Martin Skrtel who had to go off with a serious looking head injury, had a goal ruled out for offside.

The Reds who haven’t won English footballs top cup competition since 2006,had goal keeper Simon Mignolet to thank for keeping them in the game. The Belgian who received a lot of criticism for his performances earlier in the season, dived superbly to his left and clawed a way a powerful Alex Baptiste drive which was destined for the top corner.

With hosts struggling to take a strangle hold of thr game, Liverpool decided to bring on Mario Balotelli who looks like he is now starting to settle in to life at Anfield, the Italian came on to offer some support to Daniel Sturridge as the Premier League side were looking to avoid the replay.

However just like in the last round, Liverpool couldn’t break down their Championship hosts as this game finished 0-0. Blackburn would be the happier of the two sides you would think, especially with the knowledge that they have defeated Premier League opposition in Swansea and Stoke at Ewood Park.

With Liverpool though Rovers know they have a much more difficult game, the Reds did beat Blackburn’s Lancashire rivals Bolton, so this will be far from easy. It’s hard to say who will win this match – but what is certain is that this cup tie is finely balanced.

Bradford 0-0 Reading

Bradford City v Reading - FA Cup Quarter Final

Bradford 0-0 Reading

Bradford failed to take advantage of being at home in this FA Cup quarter final tie as Reading left Valley Parade still with in a shout of an FA Cup semi final as this one ended all square at 0-0, which means this match will have to be replayed on Monday 16th March.

The hosts just like in the other FA Cup ties, had to call on former Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Williams as Sunderland loanee Jordan Pickford hasn’t been given the approval to play by parent club Sunderland. Gary Liddle also returns for the home side after serving a ban.

As for the visitors Reading, they were pretty much as full strength as strikers Hal Robson Kanu and Pavel Probgrebnyak both started for the Royals.

With the incentive of a Wembley day out at stake, both sides were rather tentative as both sides resorted to long balls on a very difficult pitch, the playing surface was something which Sunderland manager Gus Poyet also publicly pointed in the build to their match against Bradford .

Although they are a side who are strong and physical, Bradford aren’t afraid to ‘put the ball down and play’. This game however the Bantams faced a different challenge, as the pitch was difficult to play and also home side were seen by some as the favourites for the tie despite being a league below Reading.

Wins against Chelsea and then Sunderland was only going to increase expectation on Bradford and they nearly fell behind in the first half. Russian striker Probgrebnyak latched on to a Jamie Mackie cross – but could only hit the post with a right footed shot.

Rattled by that, Bradford looked to take advantage of their reprieve and hit the woodwork themselves. The returning Gary Liddle who has had to sit out the last few games due to suspension, saw his speculative cross creep past Royal’s keeper Adam Federici – but thankfully for the away side Liddle’s effort hit the post.

Buoyed by hitting the post, Bradford came out the stronger in what turned out to be an overall tight affair. The home side will be slightly disappointed of not taking advantage of some good situations.

Andrew Davies saw his headed effort go over the bar and Scott Hanson’s side footed effort flashed agonisingly wide. Those missed chances nearly proved costly as an Oliver Norwood free kick was floated into the box – but a combination of the woodwork and some last ditch defending kept Bradford’s clean sheet intact.

This one finished all square. Reading will be the happier of the two sides as they have the advantage of playing at home next – but Bradford you feel won’t be phased by that. The West Yorkshire side have played with out fear and this what makes this cup tie so finally balanced.

The Black Cats Lose All Their Lives At Bradford As The Bantams Progress In The FA Cup

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead scored the second goal in an impressive 2-0 FA   Cup win over Sunderland

Bradford striker Jonathan Stead scored the second goal in an impressive 2-0 FA Cup win over Sunderland

League One giant killers Bradford took another premier league scalp in Sunderland which helped the Bantams book a place in the quarter finals of the FA cup.

Bradford who famously beat Chelsea in the previous round would have been confident going into this one. The fact that there are two leagues separating the two sides wouldn’t have bothered Bradford.

The home side came into this cup tie knowing that they were able to call Billy Clarke from the start for the second successive game. On loan Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford misses out against his parent club.

As for the visitors they had to without former England striker Jermaine Defoe, Danny Graham who hasn’t scored for two tears came in for the 32 year old. Sunderland also changed their goalkeeper as Costel Pantillimon made way for Vito Mannone.

With the pitch being in a poor state, which was well documented – it was the hosts Bradford who took the lead after three minutes. The now fit again Billy Clarke’s effort deflected off Sunderland skipper John O’Shea and into the Black Cats net. The worst possible start for the visitors who were very publicly told about the pitch by manager Gus Poyet.

Bradford went on to dominate the half – but Sunderland did have their moments, Rory McArdle and Andrew Davies were forced to make last ditch tackles when Sunderland thought they were clear through on goal. The visitors had a huge penalty appeal turned down when Steven Fletcher tumbled in the box – but replays appeared to show the Scotland striker being offside when the offence happened, so a penalty award there, would have been harsh.

The homeside’s direct approach which was more physical to what is played in the premier league, was causing mayhem amongst the Sunderland ranks, it was actually a surprise the score was only 1-0 at half time as the hosts did have chances to increase their lead.

Bradford who were excellently managed by Phil Parkinson, were brave and resilient – something which has been a highlight of their cup run and their season. Danny Graham who replaced Jermaine Defoe for this game, didn’t look like he was going to end his two year goal scoring drought here. Sadly for the former Boro striker, Graham couldn’t continue after half time due to a serious head injury he sustained in the first half.

Danny Graham’s replacement was Connor Wickham, as Sunderland looked to get back into this game and avoid being another victim to a cup upset at the hands of Bradford City. To be fair the Bantams always seemed to be in control of this one – and double their advantage through Jon Stead in the 61st minute which killed the game off as a contest.

Gus Poyet will no doubt be quick to point out the state of the Valley Parade pitch – but how disappointing Sunderland were, I extremely doubt it would have made any difference.The Black Cats will have to focus on premier league survival now after missing out on another long cup run.

Bradford march on to the quarter finals and who ever they face will no doubt be in for a good game. The Bantams have showed here that spirit and hard work get you along way.

Mow Of The Same Please

Alex Mowatt scored the only goal of the game as Leeds came out on top in the Championship relegation battle against Millwall.

Alex Mowatt scored the only goal of the game as Leeds came out on top in the Championship relegation battle against Millwall.

Alex Mowatt’s goal 6 minutes before half time proved to be the difference in the relegation battle against Millwall.

Both sides came into this ironically on the back of good form – but both sides league form over all this season is the reason why both sides are at the wrong end of the table.

Home side Leeds were pretty much unchanged for this one. Forward Mirco Antenucci continues on the bench – but there are starts for Sean Morrison and Sol Bamba. As for the visitors Millwall they had a full squad available. On Loan Michael Tonge is in eligible to play against his parent club Leeds so Angel Martinez comes in.

The match it self was quite even – but the home side Leeds slightly had the better of the possession. Both sides had plenty of shots on goal – but very few of those efforts were on target which showed why both teams are struggling.

In a game that lacked goals, this game definitely didn’t lack in tension as a lot of fouls were committed by both sides. The visitors did have some good periods in this game – but lacked the quality to turn that possession into any goals.

The home side did actually start this game well as Sam Byram hit the Millwall post. The home side eventually made their good early start and took the lead. Millwall’s Sean Williams brought down Sam Byram for a free kick which was beautifully scored by Alex Mowatt.

The visitors needed to respond – but unfortunately they weren’t able to. Martyn Woolford will rue blazing over the bar when well placed. This defeat leaves the Lions 1 point adrift of Championship safety. As for Leeds, the Whites can now look up the table – this win against their relegation rivals sees the Yorkshire side up to 12th.

Bradford Vs Sunderland FA Cup Team News

Bradford can call on their talisman Billy Clarke for this one. Clarke and Filipe Morais will have to be at their best to help Bradford beat premier League Sunderland.

Bradford can call on their talisman Billy Clarke for this one. Clarke and Filipe Morais will have to be at their best to help Bradford beat premier League Sunderland.

FA Cup Fifth Round
Venue: Coral Windows Stadium
Kick Off: 14:30 GMT
Date : Sunday 15th February

In an FA Cup so far full of shocks, both teams will be fancying their chances in this years FA Cup. Bradford who enjoyed a famous FA Cup win over Chelsea, will be no doubt be not fearing any team – after beating the best team in England at the moment.

Sunderland who beat Fulham in the last round through a replay, like Bradford have been to a cup final in recent years and will not fear anyone – but this challenge for the Black Cats is different as this is a game the Premiership will be expected to win.

Bradford Team News

Bradford who last time out defeated League One high flyers will be looking for the same kind of battling spirit here. The Bantams who started the influential Billy Clarke in the win over Mk Dons could have the 27 year old in the starting line up for this match as well.On loan Sunderland goal keeper Jordan Pickford is unavailable because of the loan agreement with parent club Sunderland.

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson has no fresh injury worries for this one. Mark Yates who also scored in that famous FA Cup win over the Blues is available .

Sunderland Team News

The Black Cats who suffered the embarrassment of being the first home side to lose to QPR in the Premier League have a few injuries to worry about. Former skipper Lee Catermole (Knee) and Emanuelle Giacherrini (Ankle) both miss out – but former Everton and Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell is available again after serving a suspension and having a groin injury.

Apart from that the Premier League side are at all full strength and will be looking to likes Jermaine Defoe and Adam Johnson to inspire them to an FA Cup win here.

Our Verdict

In a competition filled with shocks – calling this game would be very difficult. I very confidently predicted a 2-0 win for Chelsea in the previous round – but I was proven wrong. This match although there is a case of Bradford being two divisions lower, I don’t think that would make a difference.

Bradford throughout this tournament and in League One this year have played with a lot of spirit. The win against Chelsea and Mk Dons a promotion rival, shows this team know how to raise their game for the big occasion.

That fact has also concerned Sunderland boss Gus Poyet who ‘offered’ to have this FA Cup tie moved to Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light, which maybe suggest Poyet is worried about his team getting knocked out by a lower league opposition. The outspoken Black Cats manager also suggested that his players should ‘pass the ball forwards’ otherwise they ‘won’t be picked’ .

Mind games you might think – but Gus if it is an attempt of mind games, leave it to the experts (Jose Mouriniho). The Black Cats who enjoyed a good cup run in last years League Cup will not be under as much pressure here – but a ‘favourable draw’ so far might add a bit more pressure now considering some of the big teams who have already exited the competition.

Players like Jermaine Defoe and Adam Johnson will be key for Sunderland – but I don’t see the toughness around the rest of the squad that’s needed for a game like this. The black Cats have been embarrassed 8-0 this year by Southampton – and the defensive fragility was the main reason for that.

It could be argued that the Premier League side have got better defensively since that defeat – but with the intense atmosphere of Valley Parade and the fact that Bradford beat the best team in the land this year (Chelsea) , the Black Cats will have far from an easy ride at Valley Parade.

The match it self I think will be full of goals – but Bradford will come out on top here.

Bradford 3-2 Sunderland