Following a goalless draw in Essex against Southend United, Crawley will travel up to West Yorkshire ahead of an exciting away clash against Bradford City, who have had a successful second half to the season following the sacking of Stuart McCall before our reverse fixture in December.
After an excellent start to the year, and an impressive rise up the table, Bradford endured a topsy-turvy March, winning two and losing and drawing three times each. The Bantams recorded victories over Mansfield Town and Colchester United who both sit in the bottom half of the table, but were tested away at Carlisle and Scunthorpe United, where they lost out by two goal deficits.
Bradford are unbeaten in April after recording a remarkable 4-1 win over Forest Green Rovers on Good Friday. Andy Cook scored a second-half brace in between goals from Elliot Watt and Danny Rowe as Bradford were able to dispatch the Rovers with comfort despite sharing only 36% of the match possession.
Then after a 1-1 away draw at in-form Stevenage, The Bantams ran out 1-0 winners over Grimsby Town, who saw an altercation between teammates Stefan Payne and Filipe Morais result in a sending off for Payne as they played out the second half with 10 men. Bradford held on to their one-goal advantage as Anthony O’Connor scored the all-important goal to lift Bradford to eleventh.
The Reds have endured a difficult four weeks since our win over Mansfield Town at The People’s Pension Stadium. Since the victory over the Stags, we have drawn to Walsall, Scunthorpe and Southend United, and lost out to Barrow, Port Vale, Carlisle United and Oldham Athletic.
In our reverse fixture earlier on in the season with the Bantams, a limited number of socially distanced supporters were allowed into The People’s Pension Stadium to oversee a 1-1 draw to a side with newly appointed men in charge. Bradford were in terrible form in the lead up to the game under Stuart McCall but the Scotsman was sacked as Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars were given a temporary promotion to try and turn fortunes around.
Since 2011, the two sides have met on nine occasions, with both Crawley and Bradford winning four of those games each. Three of Crawley’s four home games in this period were won, including the fixture in January 2020 where the Reds went against the odds to run out as 2-1 victors, thanks to an Ollie Palmer brace before James Vaughan scored a consolation late on.
Before that, the Bantams had won the previous four outings, with three coming at Valley Parade and one at The People’s Pension Stadium, in a game that finished 1-3 in League One.
Since our last game against the Bantams, 37-year-old Clayton Donaldson has hit form in attacking midfield, often sitting behind forward Andy Cook, who scored a late equaliser for Mansfield Town in our 3-3 away draw at The One Call Stadium last year before the forward’s January move to West Yorkshire.
The pair have combined nicely in their four-game unbeaten run leading up to tomorrow, scoring four times between them as well as providing a handful of assists. Donaldson, formerly an out and out striker, has played for a number of established clubs over the years including Sheffield United, Birmingham City and Brentford, spending the majority of his career in the championship.
The Ex-Jamaica international is a strong, physical attacker with an eye for goal, and will provide useful support to poacher Andy Cook tomorrow evening. Bradford City also possess some creativity in midfield. Gareth Evans and Charles Vernam are two players that have impressed against the Reds in past seasons as some fans may be familiar with them both.
Evans, formerly of Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town, can play out wide or in a more central attacking role if needed, similar to Charles Vernam, who played against the Reds for Grimsby before his move to Burton Albion.
Reece Grego-Cox and Tom Dallison remain unavailable. Tyler Frost, Tony Craig, Mark Wright and George Francomb are all doubts.
HOW THEY BET*
Bradford City 5/4
Crawley Town 2/1
*Odds correct with EFL partners Sky Bet at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
You can watch the match live on iFollow from 6:50 with commentary from Joe Comper and Ken “Get in there” Blackmore
You can purchase a match pass for £10 by clicking here.