FA Cup Quarterfinal Preview

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Bradford City’s Billy Clarke celebrates a goal. PHOTO CREDIT: Bradford City twitter account @officialbantams.

Bradford City vs. Reading

Where: Coral Windows Stadium in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England

When: Saturday, March 7 at 7:45 Eastern on Fox Sports 1

Overview: In the surprise match up of the round, two lower division sides look to take their chance at making it to Wembley. League One side, the lowest remaining team, Bradford City has made their mark on the competition with a couple of wins over EPL sides, including a massive victory at Stamford Bridge over EPL-leading Chelsea. Reading have plied their trade as road warriors in the competition, winning all matches in this edition of the FA Cup on the road.

En route to this round, Bradford City disposed of Halifax Town, Dartford, Milwall, Chelsea and Sunderland. The Bantams sit at 8th place in the League One table, but are only one point off a playoff spot. Bradford knocked Crowley Town off this weekend, a crucial win as it was their first in 4 matches. Bradford City are no strangers to making a cup run as they pulled off a few upsets, including a big win over Arsenal, to get the the League Cup final a couple seasons back when they were a League Two side. James Hanson and Jon Stead man the front line as Bradford’s leading goal scorers, and look to add to their season totals of 11 and 8 goals respectively.

It wasn’t long ago that Reading were in the EPL. With how they have been playing lately, though, it seems like decades ago. The Royals, as previously mentioned, have won all their matches on the road to reach the quarter-final round of the FA Cup. Reading defeated Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City and Derby County and are faced with another road task in this one. The Royals occupy 18th in the Championship table and have been in poor form since their last FA Cup conquest. Since defeating Derby County, Reading have only won 1 of their past 6 matches. Their leading scorer, Simon Cox, only has 8 total goals on the season. Even worse, he looks to be a doubt with a knock to his ankle.

Players to Watch: For Bradford City, it’s the aforementioned Jon Stead, who leads the team with 5 FA Cup goals. He scored against both Chelsea and Sunderland and hopes his fortunes continue on the big stage against Reading.

With leading goal scorer Simon Cox a doubt, it will be important for Hal Robson-Kanu to add to his 2 FA Cup goals this season. As a matter of fact, he has 40% of the team’s FA Cup goals and he should make an impact; if not on the score sheet, opening up spaces for Jamie Mackie or Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Prediction: Bradford City 2, Reading 1. The amazing run will continue all the way to Wembley for the Bantams. Bradford City have not been beaten at home since a January 10 defeat at the hands of Rochdale.

Next: Aston Villa vs. West Bromwich Albion