News and Views

FA Cup Replay - Anything Could Happen

16 March 2015
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Both the manager and the fans think anything could happen in tonight's FA Cup quarter final replay against Bradford City at the Madejski Stadium. The neutrals will certainly be wanting League One Bradford to make it through tonight to face Arsenal at Wembley in the semi-final, but the bookies have Reading as clear favourites to make it through. This is our first home game in the FA Cup this season but home advantage is a dubious term for Reading recently. However our 2-1 home win against Brighton last Tuesday couldn't have come at a better time as Reading showed they can score and win at the Madejski. Reading will also be back to full strength tonight after fielding a near reserve team for the 1-4 defeat at Watford on Saturday. That game already feels irrelevant ahead of tonight, and the two games in three days should have no impact on the Royals as they recall a fresh team tonight.

Steve Clarke isn't under-estimating Phil Parkinson's giant killers: "If the bookmakers are saying that we're favourites then we're probably favourites. But that sort of thing doesn't matter in the cup. You've already seen the results of Bradford in the competition. The win at Stamford Bridge was amazing. To go there and score goals was an unbelievable result. So we know what they are capable of away from home. It's a cup game, anything can happen. One great goal, one bad mistake, one bad referring decision can decide a cup tie."

Reading fans are also equally unsure of the outcome. On the prediction thread on the forums a lot of Reading fans are predicting extra time and possibly penalties: "Reading to win it. Will probably take extra time though. Please not penalties." is a typical feeling and "Can't separate the teams. I fear penalties.". It's a bit like the first leg of this tie again where it's difficult to pick a winner.

After the first game ended 0-0 the possibility of it going the distance feels pretty big, in which case the visitors should suddenly become favourites. Reading's penalty shoot out record isn't great - meanwhile Bradford have won nine consecutive shoot outs. Clarke hinted that Reading have been practising penalties just in case they can't get a result in the ninety or 120 minutes: "I think you prepare for all eventualities."

Reading legend Phil Parkinson will be looking forward to returning to Reading once again, and is sure to get a fantastic reception from both sets of supporters at a sell out Madejski Stadium. Parky certainly seems to fancy his chances after he claims, quite rightly, Reading went to Bradford to get a draw and succeeded. Of course one team has to win tonight and Parky feels that might favour his side as they prefer an open match. Bradford were superb at Chelsea after an open game saw six goals - four of them scored by Bradford of course. "The pressure is right on Reading. They were able to come to us and spoil the game and disrupt the flow... you don't get away with playing like that at home. Reading will have to try to win the game and that should open things up."

There was just one shot on target in the whole of the game at Valley Parade and that should be very different tonight. Bradford have been amazing in the FA Cup under Parkinson - his FA Cup record at the Bantams shows just three defeats from 15 fixtures. Very few Premier League teams can get near that.

There's a lot of talk about the money at stake this evening. The winner is guaranteed to pick up a significant amount of prize money even with defeat in the next round against Arsenal. That big prize money would be multiplied by TV income, gate receipts and the exposure an FA Cup semi-final appearance brings. Bradford could still make it up via the play-offs - and promotion would give them a much better financial future but this game is very significant for both sides for money and for achieving their first semi-final appearances in living memory.

FA Cup Prize Money

  • Third Round winners: £67,500
  • Fourth Round winners: £90,000
  • Fifth Round winners: £180,000
  • Sixth Round winners: £360,000
  • Semi-Final winners: £900,000
  • Semi-Final losers: £450,000
  • Final runners-up: £900,000
  • Final winners: £1,800,000

See Also:

Reading and Bradford - Head to head record (since August 1994)
Games Between Reading and Bradford 11
Reading Wins 2
Bradford Wins 3
Draws 6
Reading Goals 9
Bradford Goals 14
Average Goals Per Game 2.09

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