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PREVIEW: BRADFORD CITY

18 October 2019

Reds head to the Utilita Energy Stadium on Saturday to take on Gary Bowyer's Bradford City in Sky Bet League Two, kick off 3pm.

SCENE SETTER

Reds returned to winning ways last Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Colchester lifting us into ninth place. Bradford are third after beating Morecambe by the same score and will be looking for their third successive home victory.

TEAM NEWS

David Sesay returns after suspension for Crawley but Ollie Palmer, George Francomb, Ashley Nadesan and Joe McNernery remain on the sidelines through injury, although the quartet are all getting closer to a return.

Bradford are without injured trio Matty Palmer, Jamie Devitt and Jordan Gibson but they have signed midfielder Chris Taylor this week. Taylor played under Gary Bowyer when he was Blackpool manager.

BANTAMS-REDS LINKS

Midfielder Hope Akpan spent two seasons at Crawley during our League One days, after joining the club from Everton. Hope made 60 appearances for the club under Richie Barker and scored eight goals. Hope has subsequently played for Burton Albion and Blackburn Rovers before linking up with Bradford this season. 

WE'VE MET BEFORE

It's nearly four years since we last took on Bradford City.

That League One fixture - in our relegation season - ended with a 1-0 defeat for Dean Saunders' side on a terrible pitch at Valley Parade.

The game this Saturday will be the seventh meeting between the teams and to date Reds have won three and lost three.

Crawley did the double over the Bantams in the 2011-12 season, winning 3-1 when the teams met for the first time in September 2011. Kyel Reid put the Bantams in front but second-half goals from Tyrone Barnett (2) and Andy Drury completed the turnaround.

The return fixture at Valley Parade in March 2012 is one of the most notorious in the club's Football League history. Leon Clarke, now a Premier League player with Sheffield United, and Gary Alexander scored either side of Chris Dagnall's equaliser at the Coral Windows Stadium to seal a 2-1 success but at the final whistle a mass brawl broke out and referee Iain Williamson sent off five players, including Reds' Pablo Mills and Claude Davis.

Kyle McFadzean was subsequently given a retrospective ban after the FA viewed video evidence. Six Crawley players were also booked.

Both teams won their respective home fixtures when we met again in the 2013-14 campaign. Emile Sinclair scored for Crawley in a 1-0 home victory and Bradford won 2-1 at Valley Parade despite a goal from Jamie Proctor.

Our only other game against Bradford in August 2014 ended in a 3-1 away win with Joe Walsh getting Crawley's consolation. 

MATCH OFFICIALS

Will Finnie will referee his first Crawley game on Saturday. It's his first season as an EFL official and in ten games so far he has shown 42 yellow and one red card.

He will be assisted by Kevin Mulraine and Matthew Smith. The fourth official is Steve Rushton. 

HOW THEY BET*

Crawley win: 10/3

Draw: 13/5

Bradford City win: 3/4

*Odds correct with EFL partners Sky Bet at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly. 

COVERAGE

There will be live commentary from BBC Sussex & Surrey Sport's Gary Smith from 2.55pm on iFollow. He will be joined by Ken Blackmore.

You can subscribe and watch the game (overseas fans only) by clicking here.

There will also be coverage across our social media channels throughout the game. @crawleytown on Twitter, Crawley Town FC on Facebook and officialcrawleytownfc on Instagram followed by post-match report and reaction.

COME ON YOU REDS!


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