PREVIEW: Bradford

United return home following a two-game absence on Saturday when they play host to Bradford City.

Match sponsor - Attis

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Match sponsor - Stanwix Park

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Match ball sponsor - Keith Richardson (celebrating his 70th birthday) 

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The long trip from Yorkshire to Exeter is tough enough, but add a bit of FA Cup extra time and, ultimately, a disappointing defeat, and it makes the whole day feel just that little bit longer.

So imagine discovering that the hosts have (reportedly unwittingly) bent the competition rules, only to then be told that the journey has to be made to do it all again ... during midweek.

The replay was done in normal time, with the Grecians battling out a 2-1 win, but there's no doubt it left a strange taste in Bradford mouths.

Not quite up there with the controversy created by the Hamilton / Verstappen incident, but certainly one that threw up plenty of discussion points.

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Bradford are one of the division's draw specialists by some margin. 11 of their league games have seen points shared, with six wins and five defeats making up the other half of their results.

New boss Derek Adams (installed after his play-off success with Morecambe) will be looking for another push this term, with a club steeped in history, and he's spoken recently about the need to turn some of these stalemates into victories.

A win and three draws from their last four league games have left them hovering and poised to pounce in the mid-table positions and, indeed, the consecutive home draws against Sutton and Colchester were accompanied by a sense of disappointment that the points return could have been more.

The last league away win came at Barrow on New Year's Day, and a welcome result that was. They'd had to wait since the end of October to celebrate again  - a comfortable 3-1 victory over Swindon - so they'll be looking to add more in the way of away success to the mix as well.

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He's back from injury, we know him well, and he has eight goals to his name already.

Striker Andy Cook has been in a good vein of scoring form when available and he's the kind of striker who causes real problems at this level.

Awkward to deal with he comes alive in the area, and will give the defence plenty to mull over if he can find the spaces within which he likes to do his work.

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Click HERE to purchase a match pass that will allow you to WATCH this fixture.  

With match commentary provided by BBC Radio Cumbria, this is a fantastic way to follow your team through the season.

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  Bradford wins Draws Carlisle wins
League 20 13 15
Cup 0 0 1
League Cup 0 1 1
FA Cup 1 0 1
Total 21 14 18

March 2021 brought the Bantams to Brunton Park as Rhys Bennett (2) and Ozzy Zanzala opened up a three-goal lead. Paudie O'Connor bagged a consolation, but the points stayed in Cumbria.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Rhys Bennett bagged the only goal of the game in December 2020 to earn the Cumbrians a deserved away win.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

A game blighted by red cards went the way of the Bantams back in September, as they bagged three in response to Olufela Olomola's early opener, but the match became a difficult one to measure for the Blues following a first-half sending off for Jack Bridge.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

We hadn't seen Bradford prior to that since the 1-0 home victory at Brunton Park back in February 2014. Striker Lee Miller scored the only goal of the game - and it was an absolute stunner - and keeping goal for the Blues that night was a certain young man called Jordan Pickford.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

A more recent meeting between the teams was the July 2018 pre-season friendly, played at Brunton Park. It was a tight game with the winner coming in time added on when Richie Bennett got on the end of a deflected Hallam Hope shot.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

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Referee - Andy Haines
Assistant Referee 1 - Matthew Parry
Assistant Referee 2 - Alan Clayton
Fourth Official - Ivan Stankovic
Observer - Mick Brown

Image removed.Mr Haines has taken charge of 19 games so far this season showing 50 yellow cards and no reds.

He was at Brunton Park in November 2020 for our defeat at the hands of soon to be promoted Cheltenham Town. Jon Mellish scored on the stroke of half time, but the Robins were already two goals to the good, and they ended up claiming the win. There were no bookings that afternoon.

We also had him for the pre-lockdown game against Cheltenham in February 2020. They won 1-0 and Gethin Jones was the only Carlisle name taken on the day.

He was last at Brunton Park prior to that for our 1-0 home victory over FA Cup replay with Forest Green in December 2019. Aaron Hayden scored his first goal for the club - the only goal of the game - and Ryan Loft went in the book on the night.

He was also here for the 2-1 home win over Macclesfield in November 2019. Harry McKirdy and Ryan Loft scored the Carlisle goals and Mike Jones and Canice Carroll had their names taken on the day.

Prior to that he was here in March 2019 for our 2-2 draw with Cambridge. The U's went ahead with just three minutes on the clock, but goals from Jamie Devitt and Nathan Thomas gave the Blues the lead before the break. Former-United favourite Jabo Ibehre bagged midway through the second period to make it a share of the spoils on the day. Danny Grainger and Mike Jones received bookings during the game.

He was also with us just three months earlier for our Boxing Day meeting with Oldham. United ran riot with goals from Hope, Yates [2], Nadesan, Grainger and Liddle securing a thumping 6-0 victory. Kelvin Etuhu was the only Carlisle name taken on the night.

Earlier in the 2018/19 season he was up here for our Checkatrade Trophy group fixture against Morecambe. A tight game saw the Shrimps twice take the lead through goals from Oliver and Piggott. Glendon and Gillesphey pegged them back for the Blues, and that set it up for Jerry Yates to grab a late winner. There were no United names taken on the night.

We saw Mr Haines twice in season 2017/18, both at Brunton Park, starting with our opening day fixture against Swindon Town. Luke Joyce scored our only goal in a 2-1 defeat, and Mike Jones was the only Carlisle name to be written down.

Our second meeting had a much more pleasant outcome as we beat Oldham Athletic 3-2 in the FA Cup. Richie Bennett (2) and Hallam Hope gave us a three goal cushion but there was still time to bite the fingernails as Peter Clarke and Aaron Holloway bit back to make it a nervy ending to the game. There were no Carlisle bookings that afternoon.

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