The injuries are piling up for Phil Parkinson's side, but Ian Lamont believes they have enough in the tank on top of their cup exploits to beat Exeter...
'At Valley Parade, Bradford have lost just once and drawn two from eight, with a healthy goals ratio'
Tired, battered and bruised and with cup football overflowing, fourth-placed Bradford have momentum to enhance. If a promotion push is to be maintained, they must overcome losing two more players, Zavon Hines and James Meredith, to injury. That was the downside of their sapping FA Cup replay win on penalties over Northampton. A sustained bid to go up from this division is well overdue for a club that will face Arsenal in the League Cup just a few short years after doing so in the Premiership.
Phil Parkinson believes he needs to double his two loan reinforcements, so it is worth watching who they recruit before Saturday. At least the strike force, James Hanson and 10-goal Nehki Wells, is intact. At Valley Parade this season, Bradford have lost just once and drawn two from eight, with a healthy goals ratio (16-5).
Allowing for injuries, there is just enough to justify backing them at the price, while cautioning that Exeter do have a healthy away record, albeit having scored just once in their most recent four away games, a 1-1 at Dagenham being their only goal in six games. Scoring four in two at home might have restored confidence, but Paul Tisdale still ranks this and Tuesday's game at Gillingham as the Grecians' toughest period of the season so far.
The Daggers sit third in the six-game form guide with 11 points and their mid-table position belies a hugely improved performance level since taking three points - all draws - from the opening eight games. They have one defeat in nine since. As that gives John Still's men the argument of being League Two's most improved side, their odds of 3.259/4 seem somewhat large. Victories over Oxford (3-2) and Rotherham (5-0) in the past couple of weeks are definitely not to be sniffed at.
They have averaged two goals in their past five away games, losing just one. Luke Howell will be after more to add to three in two games.
A penchant for conceding nearly as many, combined with Burton being second highest in the home scorers' charts, indicates over 2.5 goals is a given. All that, plus the realisation Burton faced an FA Cup replay on Thursday, has pushed an even money price on a Burton win to 2.3611/8. Layable, along with backing a high-scoring game.
Layers are pushing to make at least six home teams odds-on this weekend. That is astonishing, considering there were seven draws just two sets of matches ago. Mixed in with recent facts on AFC Wimbledon and Aldershot, the home win price seems rather generous.
The Dons have the world's spotlight on their shoulders, as they face the team their fans despise as "Franchise" - MK Dons - in the FA Cup second round, the first meeting of the clubs since AFC Wimbledon were formed 10 years ago. One match reviewer said Neil Ardley would have to put out a much stronger team to win that one than he did for Monday's First Round replay against York City. Did they play a weakened team? What does it matter? They still won - in extra time - despite making seven changes from the team which won 3-0 at York two days before. Charlie Strutton still made a name for himself. New boss Ardley seems to have instilled some defensive soundness that Terry Brown couldn't. Those are positive signs.
The odds reflect the fans-run club's proximity to bottom club Aldershot Town. The visitors' recovery of four games unbeaten was undone by Bradford last weekend. A defensive mistake cost the Shots a first goal, but it is a lack of confidence in front of goal that is a worry. They have failed to score in nine league games this season (a divisional worst), including the last three and six out of the last seven. Spain's Danny Lopez (Stevenage) and Portugal's Alberto Seidi (Southampton) have both been signed to bolster the strike force in recent weeks. Ben Herd hopes the Shots can repeat last season's trick and gain an against-form victory. But at present this looks like being a hard winter for Dean Holdsworth.