Bradford v Sunderland: Defoe the man to halt Bantams cup run
History of taking Premier League scalps? Check. An opponent in disarray? Check. Visiting manager already preparing excuses blaming the pitch? Check.
The stage is set for Bradford City to continue on their fairytale FA Cup run, with top-flight strugglers Sunderland the barrier between them and a place in the quarter finals.
Mackems boss Gus Poyet has made it clear that he is not happy with the Valley Parade playing surface ahead of the tie, as he looks to relieve some of the pressure currently on him following his sides lacklustre performance in the defeat against QPR in midweek.
However, with the tie set to be a tight one, staying away from the WDW market is advised, and instead an interest in the following bets are well and truly encouraged.
Sunderland have a habit of going in at the break goalless. In fact exactly half of their matches away from home this season have seen the first half draw a blank.
Poyet will want his men to avoid any early embarrassment, so will likely set up to contain the inevitable Bradford pressure from the word go.
And with 35 per cent of City’s home games seeing no goals in the opening 45 minutes, this could be a slow burner.
While we fancy the maiden period to go by without much in the way of goal-mouth action, backing the Premier League side to opening the scoring after the break looks the way to go.
Despite the good form Bradford are in – they’ve only lost one in six – scoring first is not their forte.
Of those six games, ties they have netted 13 times in, they have only opened the scoring on two occasions.
Another come from behind victory could be needed if the magic of the cup is to go on.
The man charged with lifting Sunderland’s season is just the striker to break the hearts of the League One outfit.
Scoring against lower league opposition is something the former Tottenham man has thrived with in years gone by.
In total, 10 of his 13 goals in cup competitions during his career in England have come against sides in the divisions below.
And with that tally coming in 18 appearances in such a tie, a quick counter attack could see that tally added to.
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.