FA Cup Preview: Bradford City - Sunderland - League One side looking for second top-flight scalp
Image via thetimes.co.uk

Fourth Round giant-killers Bradford City will look to continue their FA Cup fairytale against Premier League strugglers Sunderland on Sunday, in the day's early kickoff at Valley Parade.

The League One side came from two goals down to shock Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in the previous round and Bantams manager Phil Parkinson did not rest any players on Monday night as Bradford climbed back into the League One play-off spots with a 2-1 win over MK Dons, but he does not have any new injury problems to contend with.

Meanwhile, English duo Jack Rodwell and Billy Jones will be available to return for Gus Poyet's men, though midfielders Emanuele Giaccherini and Lee Cattermole remain sidelined.

Bradford boss Parkinson has been speaking fondly of their famous victory at Stamford Bridge in the previous round, and admits that he did not expect to still be in the reckoning with the quarter-finals within reach.

"We will go into Sunday's game with nothing to lose and everything to gain," he said. "This is another tremendous challenge, and we will approach it in a positive fashion.

"Whatever the score is come the final whistle, if we have put in a performance that truly reflects what Bradford City, our supporters and the City of Bradford itself are all about, then we can't ask for anymore from the players.

"I hope the supporters enjoy the day, soak up the atmosphere of a full house, and help to make it an occasion to remember."

Former Black Cats midfielder Billy Knott, meanwhile, has urged his current teammates to approach the tie in a professional manner, stating, "We're not just in the F.A Cup now to make up the numbers."

Former England winger Adam Johnson insists that the Premier League side will not be taking the Bantams lightly, having already seen them become the first side to score four against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season.

“We have to go there and do everything right because if you take it for granted anything can happen in the FA Cup.

“They are going to be up for it and their fans are going to be right behind them, so need to go there and play our game in difficult conditions and be at our best because if we do that we will come out on top.

“The cup can be a distraction but that can be good at times and it worked that way for us last year, so if we can take anything from it this season it would be great.”

Sunderland have won the last two encounters between these sides, but in truth that will have little bearing on the outcome of this match, two 3-0 and 4-0 victories coming in 2003. One has to cast an eye back more than a century to 1909 for the last FA Cup meeting between the two, which resulted in a 1-0 Sunderland victory.

Match referee Kevin Friend has shown 96 yellow cards and three reds in 22 games so far this season, and this Sunday's game will be the third time this term he has taken charge of a game involving Sunderland. He also officiated their goalless draw with Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in November, and a 2-0 home loss to Arsenal in October.

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