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FA Cup Quarter-Final Replay - Reading FC v Bradford City FC: Match Preview

It's the big one. After a stalemate in the original tie, Reading take on Bradford in their FA Cup Quarter-Final Replay for the chance to play Arsenal at Wembley in the semi-finals. Phil Owtram previews Monday nights action.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Reading FC v Bradford City FC
FA Cup Quarter-Final Replay
Monday 16th March, KO 7:45PM
Madejski Stadium
Referee: Mike Jones

Reading

Form (all comps): LWDDL
Watford v Reading: 4-1
Reading v Brighton: 2-1
Bradford v Reading (FA Cup): 0-0
Bolton v Reading: 1-1
Reading v Nottingham Forest: 0-3

Route to the quarter-finals:
Third round: Huddersfield v Reading: 0-1
Fourth round: Cardiff v Reading: 1-2
Fifth round: Derby v Reading: 1-2
Sixth round: Bradford v Reading: 0-0

Manager: Steve Clarke

So as both teams step out to play their second game in a little over two days the question remains, can Reading win a home FA Cup tie and seal their place in a Wembley semi-final against Arsenal? The Royals have been drawn away from home in the last four rounds, a coincidence that has suited them nicely so far. It was always thought that Bradford would pose a sterner test, after their scalps of Chelsea and Sunderland in the previous rounds but the Royals held their own and were clearly well prepared by Steve Clarke as they managed to keep the Bantams at bay and take them to a replay. This is undoubtedly Reading’s biggest game of the season after the match at Valley Parade. Madejski Stadium will be packed out for the first time since the Premier League days as Royals fans hope to see their side make the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 1927 when they lost 3-0 to Cardiff City who went onto beat Arsenal in the final.

Bradford

Form (all comps): DDDWL
Notts County v Bradford: 1-1
Coventry v Bradford: 1-1
Bradford v Reading (FA Cup): 0-0
Bradford v Crawley: 1-0
Peterborough v Bradford: 2-0

Route to the quarter-finals:
First round: Halifax Town v Bradford:  1-2
Second round:  Bradford v Dartford: 4-1
Third round: Millwall v Bradford: 3-3
Replay: Bradford v Millwall: 4-0
Fourth round: Chelsea v Bradford: 2-4
Fifth round: Bradford v Sunderland: 2-0
Sixth round: Bradford v Reading: 0-0

Manager: Phil Parkinson
Despite their heroic exploits in the FA Cup this season Bradford sit 9th in League 1, one point adrift of the play-off positions but 17 points below Preston in the second automatic promotion position and 30 points behind Bristol City in top spot. An FA Cup semi-final and a place in the play-offs I’m sure would be considered a decent season but there is work to do. Back to Mondays game and the Bantams travel to Berkshire hoping to secure a semi-final place as they seek to win the competition for the first time since 1911. They have of course recently experienced a Wembley Cup final just two seasons ago when they were defeated 5-0 by Swansea in the League Cup final. They will be backed by up to 4,000 fans at Madejski Stadium on Monday night all hoping to see their side progress.

Head to Head

Last five meetings
07 Mar 2015 Bradford City v Reading D 0-0 FA Cup
10 Apr 2004 Bradford City v Reading L 2-1 League Division 1
04 Oct 2003 Reading v Bradford City D 2-2 League Division 1
22 Mar 2003 Bradford City v Reading W 0-1 League Division 1
29 Oct 2002 Reading v Bradford City W 1-0 League Division 1

This will be the 61st meeting in all competitions between these two sides and it is Bradford that hold the superior record with 22 wins to Reading’s 18 with 20 draws. The first time these two sides met was in the FA Cup, a first round match on 12th January 1907, a game Bradford won 2-0. That was the last pairing of these two sides in this competition until they were drawn against each other in this season’s competition. Their most recent cup meeting was in the 1999/00 Worthington Cup when after a 1-1 draw in the first match and a 2-2 draw in the replay Bradford went through on the away goals rule. In 8 meetings in cup competitions Reading have only won once, a 2-1 victory in the 1987/88 Simod Cup.

Team News
Reading: Alex Pearce is expected to be fit following a broken nose picked up in the original tie.
Bradford: New loan signing, goalkeeper Jak Alnwick is cup-tied so Ben Williams is expected to start in goal. Andrew Davies will be monitored ahead of the game after a recent arm injury.

My prediction: Reading 1-0 Bradford (AET)