Oxford United boss unsure over Bradford City response

Carl McHugh (left) and Rory McArdle celebrate Bradford’s win against Aston Villa on Tuesday

Carl McHugh (left) and Rory McArdle celebrate Bradford’s win against Aston Villa on Tuesday

First published in U's News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

CHRIS Wilder has no idea what reaction to expect from Bradford City tomorrow after their midweek cup exploits against Aston Villa.

And the Oxford United boss believes his opposite number Phil Parkinson will also be in the dark until the game kicks off.

Bradford have been in the spotlight since beating Arsenal last month, but it has magnified since Tuesday’s 3-1 win in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.

They have had little time to absorb the result and United will be hoping to catch them cold when the npower League Two schedule resumes tomorrow.

Wilder knows exactly what the game will have taken out of the City players, but will only tell if the result will help or hinder United’s chances once the game begins.

He said: “It’s not a difficult one to approach for us because it’s a big game for us.

“They will say the right things and say ‘Oxford is our most important game’ but psychologically who knows?

“Is there going to be a bit of a downer, or will it inspire them to say ‘we beat Villa, we can easily beat Oxford’?

“They put an unbelievable effort in, so does that mean they will freshen the team up?

“I’ve played in games when I was in (what is now) League One and we played Premier League teams in the cup and you have to concentrate unbelievably and mentally it takes it out of you.

“We’ll only find out on Saturday, but we’re 100 per cent concentrated on us and we’re good enough to go and get a win.”

Bradford’s cup progress has coincided with a dip in league results, with just one win in five games seeing them slip out of the play-off places on goal difference.

Steve Parkin, City’s assistant manager, is well aware of the dangers.

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He said: “Our focus is very much the league.

“We don’t want to drop down and if we get the win, we’ll be right up there again.

“It’s very difficult during this cup run.

“We just need to stay in touching distance, making sure we’re within a game of promotion or right in there.

“I’m sure Oxford’s manager has got them in the right frame of mind as the results have proved.

“We’ll have to play as well as we did against Aston Villa to get three points.”

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