Northampton Town v Bradford City: FA Cup First Round Preview

FA Cup First Round

Northampton Town v Bradford City

FA Cup First Round

Saturday, November 3rd 2012

After the events of last Saturday it’s perhaps a welcome break this weekend as the Cobblers are back in action in the First Round of the FA Cup. Alex Nicholls’ injury overshadowed an excellent win over Port Vale and we now go in search of progression in the cup against a Bradford side that beat us just ten days ago and who are coming into the game on the back of a giant killing in another competition…

Giant Killing Bantams…

Not many would have given Bradford a chance against Premier League Wigan Athletic in the League Cup Fourth Round on Tuesday night but the Bantams did themselves and League Two proud by taking the Latics all the way to penalties before dumping them out of the competition and progressing through to a mouth-watering Quarter Final clash with Arsenal at Valley Parade. Former Cobblers loanee Matt Duke was the spot kick hero as he saved from Jordi Gomez to send his side into the last eight.

City back at Sixfields after single goal win…

In what was widely regarded as the worst game of the season so far involving the Cobblers, Bradford went home with all three points ten days ago as Nahki Wells scored the only goal of a scrappy contest to keep Bradford in the running at the right end of League Two. Their only other league game since then was a 1-0 defeat at Burton Albion.

 

Duke…Sixfields return

Club Links…

City keeper Matt Duke was on loan with the Cobblers last season, playing nine games during our bid to avoid the drop. Despite only staying a short amount of time, Duke was a popular figure with Town fans.

Cobblers striker Louis Moult was on loan with Bradford in 2010, scoring once in ten outings with the Bantams.

 

Team News…

The Cobblers will, of course, be without Alex Nicholls who suffered a double leg break last weekend which is likely to keep him out for up to a year. John Johnson and Chris Hackett gave Aidy Boothroyd a timely boost this week, though, by returning to training and both could come straight back into the side. Ben Harding, Luke Guttridge and David Artell are still missing with Artell and Guttridge not expected back until the New Year.

Bradford have their own problems with defender Andrew Davies facing four months on the sidelines after he picked up a knee injury during the game at Burton last weekend. Fellow defender Luke Oliver is another set for a long spell out after he picked up an Achilles injury in the same match. Nahki Wells, Rory McArdle and Zavon Hines all face late fitness tests after picking up knocks in the win at Wigan on Tuesday.

 

The Man in the Middle…

The referee for this cup tie is Stephen Bratt. Bratt hasn’t taken charge of a Cobblers game since 2009 in a 2-1 home win over Hereford United.

 

Prediction…

After Tuesday night’s exploits many hopes will lie with Bradford not being ready for the game that comes ‘after the lord mayor’s show’ but City were the first visitors to Sixfields after our big win at Anfield in the same competition and we ended up winning that one! We need to manoeuvre around Alex Nicholls’ injury and Louis Moult will be the one in focus if he starts with Bayo. I’m going for a more entertaining game than last time out against the Bantams and I’ll go for the Cobblers progressing to Round Two with a hearty 2-1 win.

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