BRADFORD CITY return to Vicarage Road this Tuesday night – their second cup visit of 2012 – this time providing the opposition for Gianfranco Zola`s side in the Capital One Cup second round.
Watford of course overcame a hard-working Wycombe Wanderers in the first round tie three weeks ago, in a match which already seems a lifetime ago as the Hornets continue to evolve gradually.
Phil Parkinson`s Bantams knocked out League One outfit Notts County in their first round tie with an extra-time victory of their own, powerhouse forward James Hanson striking five minutes into the additional 30.
Bradford certainly put up a strong fight in January, the Hornets eventually running out 4-2 winners over the League Two outfit thanks to a fine pair of Craig Forsyth strikers. Troy Deeney had put Watford ahead before Hanson equalised. Marvin Sordell put the ‘Orns back in front before Forsyth let fly twice and Nekhi Wells pulled back a consolation strike with two minutes to play.
The Bantams have started well in the league as well, recovering well from a 3-1 defeat at Gillingham on day one. Parkinson`s side followed that disappointment up with a 1-0 victory over Football League newcomers Fleetwood Town and an even more impressive 5-1 trouncing of Wimbledon on Saturday at Valley Parade.
Away from the field it`s been an incredibly busy summer for Parkinson who has added no fewer than 11 new faces on permanent deals since the end of last season. Thirteen professionals had already left at the end of the previous campaign which saw the former Premier League outfit finish a highly-disappointing 18th place.
Among those to arrive at the west Yorkshire club this season former Stoke City centre-half, Andrew Davies. The former Middlesbrough trainee spent the majority of last term on loan with the Bantams before signing a permanent deal upon his release this summer.
Experienced winger-cum-forward Garry Thompson also signed on a free transfer having left Scunthorpe United. During a four year stay with the Irons Thompson made over 100 league appearances for the Lincolnshire club, scoring 20 times.
Former Barnsley utility man Nathan Doyle also arrived from nearby, joining on a free transfer from the Tykes where he had spent the past two years. Doyle, 25, came through the youth ranks at Derby County before moving to Hull City and subsequently Barnsley. Capable of playing in a number of defensive and midfielder positions, Doyle will prove a handy addition.
Parkinson added the his forward corps with the addition of ex-West Ham United and Burnley attacker Zavon Hines. Highly-rated after coming through the Boleyn Ground`s famed academy system, Hines signed for Burnley at the beginning of last time for a tribunal set fee of £250k. However, after 13 appearances for the Clarets he left Turf Moor before signing for City on a free transfer. After 22 appearances for the Premier League Hammers, Hines will be looking forward to getting his career moving in the right direction once more – much like the club themselves.
Bradford will be without the services of experienced midfielder Ricky Ravenhill who is out for three months with a knee injury.
Zola, who condemned the fitness of his players during the Birmingham City win, could very well rest a number of first-team players ahead of the side`s third match in a week. Steve Leo Beleck and Ikechi Anya could well be in place for their first starts for the club.
Referee: Mr C Sarginson.