Bradford City joint-chairman Mark Lawn has stated that tomorrow night’s semi-final second leg at Villa Park is as big as a ‘Wembley Final’ to the Bantams but the fact is it could be as close to a final as Villa are going to get unless they are everything they weren’t two weeks ago.
The League 2 outfit are bringing a 3-1 aggregate lead to Villa Park having already stunned the footballing world by knocking out both Arsenal and Wigan on their way.
I don’t need to tell you that I, like many other Villa fans, would take defeat tomorrow night if it meant we would stay in the best league in the world but a trip to Wembley would be nice though, wouldn’t it?
When I wrote my preview two weeks ago, I stated that we should be beating Bradford and I still stand by that statement but I will hold my hands up and accept that I didn’t take Bradford seriously – and neither did the players, going by the final score.
However, what is serious is that we need to turn around that 3-1 scoreline, not just in hope of making a cup final but hopefully to kick-start our very poor season.
Aston Villa: Paul Lambert would no doubt love to stick with the same team that started the weekend game at West Brom but that simply isnt possible. Nathan Baker limped off at the weekend with a hamstring injury, while Ashley Westwood is cup-tied.
Fabian Delph (ankle) and Shay Given (hamstring) will have late fitness tests. It is expected either Barry Bannan or Stephen Ireland will step in for Westwood – not sure if I would like either.
Andreas Weimann is available after missing the derby draw with a virus.
Bradford: Phil Parkinson should have a fully fit squad to pick from after their game was postponed due to the weather over the weekend.
Striker James Hanson is available after recovering from a broken toe, while new signing Michael Nelson will be hoping to play some part following his move from SPL side Kilmarnock.
A limited amount of tickets were made available yesterday from £29. If you are still hoping to attend, get in touch with the ticket office as early as possible to avoid disappointment.