City’s club record of unbeaten matches was extended to 15 following the 2-1 win at Salford, and it’s that time of the year when the distant dream of Wembley glory rears its head. But that’s enough about Wednesday’s EFL Trophy match against Bristol Rovers, it’s the FA Cup this weekend which saw arguably an awful draw for City. Kyle Taylor missed the Salford trip having picked up a knock midweek, but there is better news on the horizon with Jack Sparkes having featured in Tuesday’s closed doors friendly with Bournemouth meaning he may compete for a place on the bench, although the Bristol Rovers match may be a more realistic occasion for him to return. Also in training is Sam Stubbs, who has yet to make his début following his signing in January – although Matt Taylor was cautious in his assessment of when he may finally don the red and white.
By appointing a manager with a proven pedigree at this level and with an impressive squad, Bradford were installed as promotion favourites by most pundits, but it hasn’t been plain sailing so far for Derek Adams and his side, as they go into the FA Cup sitting in 12th in the table, although a 3-1 win at Swindon was followed by a 1-1 draw with leaders Forest Green, so the Bantams do go into Saturday with a bit of form behind them. Bradford’s goal in that 1-1 draw was scored by Andy Cook, who has continued the form he showed before his loan spell from Mansfield was made permanent and leads the way with seven goals. Elsewhere the likes of Alex Gilliead will be likely to put pressure on City’s back line.
This is the second meeting of the sides this season, with City having welcomed Bradford to the Park on the opening day – the match finished 0-0, but wasn’t without incident, one triple save from debutant Cam Dawson in particular sticking in the memory. Last season’s visit to Valley Parade saw a score of 2-2 with all of the goals in the first half – Bradford led through Clarke, City hit back through Jay and Bowman before Staunton equalised on the stroke of half time. Saturday marks the first time the sides have met in the FA Cup, the only cup action being in the League Cup in 1964/65, when fourth division Bradford stunned third division City 5-3 at the Park. 12 of the last encounters can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=10699
Match officials for the game are:-
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistant Referees: Simon Clayton and Stephen Wade
Fourth Official: Conor Brown
So farm Seb Stockbridge has taken charge of 10 Exeter games, see https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=stockbridge