Blades to slice Bantams apart
Sheffield United v Bradford City - live on Sky Sports 1
The Johnstones Paint trophy returns this week with the area quarter-finals. The live Sky clash sees the Bantams head to Sheffield for the second time in this competition hoping to dispatch a 3rd league 1 side. The winner of the tie will not just progress to the area semi-finals but will also have the bragging rights of being the last Yorkshire side left.
The Blades (4/9) play at home for the first time in this competition following 2-1 away victories at League 2 Burton Albion and Rotherham. Manager Danny Wilson has made changes for both games (5 and 4 respectively) but they have been taking the competition seriously enough that they will put out a side capable of pulling Bradford apart.
United have been flying high in league 1 but their league form has stuttered a bit of late with their five match unbeaten run coming to an end on Saturday at Stevenage. That run did however include 2 rather disappointing draws against Leyton Orient and Exeter - matches they should've won as late goals have been costing them dear.
The Blades top scorer Ched Evans (7/2 first, 4/5 anytime) came off the bench on Saturday to bag their only goal against Stevenage and the striker is likely to be given the opportunity to earn himself a regular starting role with a start against the Bantams. The striker will be a cut above the level the League 2 side have been struggling to defend against and he's a good shout to open the scoring. The United midfield have done a good job of supporting the front line and will get plenty of space to work and it would be no surprise to see one of Stephen Quinn (9/1 first, 10/3 anytime), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (11/1 first, 4/1 anytime) or Matty Phillips (8/1 first, 11/4 anytime) on the score sheet.
The Bantams (13/2, draw 16/5) have struggled all season long, especially away from Valley Parade where they have picked up just 4 points from 9 games on their travels. City have had 2 major problems, they can't score (failing to find the net in four of their last 5) and can't defend (they have kept just 2 clean sheets all season) and so a Sheffield United victory to nil (11/8) can offer much better value than the straight 90 minutes.
Bradford will be aiming to take a 3rd Yorkshire League 1 scalp as they won at Hillsborough (albeit against a Wednesday side not taking the competition seriously) and against Huddersfield who made 8 changes to their league side. Both JPT games that Bradford has been involved in have finished level at full time and they have progressed after penalties, but this looks to be a step too far for them as they appear to be out of their depth at the Lane.
United have scoring for fun of late and will certainly get plenty of opportunities to add more to their tallies. The goals can be backed at over 2.5 at 8/13 (6/5 under) or over 3.5 at 7/4 (2/5 Under) which represents a better value. Sheffield Untied have fallen behind and won in the previous rounds (13/2 to happen again) but I can't see Bradford being able to find the back of the net at the Lane. The Blades to win 3-0 (9/1) or 4-0 (16/1) therefore would be the picks for some correct score action.
Sheffield Untied to win to nil @11/8
Matt Phillips anytime goal scorer @11/4 or anytime wincast with Sheff Utd win @7/2
Over 3.5 goals @7/4