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Things have not gone according to plan for Sunderland since booking their spot in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup – where they face a daunting away fixture with Arsenal – as Lee Johnson has overseen three defeats from his side’s last three games.
After going down to Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday in League One – scoring only one goal and conceding eight – Sunderland found themselves up against Mansfield Town in the first round of the FA Cup and suffered a swift elimination courtesy of Rhys Oates‘s fifth-minute winner for the League Two side.
However, Johnson’s men have secured two wins from two EFL Trophy games to cement their position in the top two of the rankings, firstly seeing off Lincoln City 2-1 before downing Manchester United’s Under-21s by the same scoreline.
Sunderland welcome Bradford to the Stadium of Light having suffered back-to-back defeats in their last two home games, which came after they had prevailed in their last eight before that, but there is nothing on the line for either side this week.
In stark contrast, Bradford’s run in the EFL Trophy has ended at the first hurdle, with Derek Adams‘s side chalking up zero points and zero goals from their first two clashes of Group F with Lincoln City and Man United’s youth prospects.
After going down 3-0 to Lincoln on home soil, Man United also put three unanswered goals past Bradford in front of a 2,000-strong crowd at Valley Parade, and even the consolation of a third-placed finish is surely too far out of the visitors’ reach now.
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Adams’s side have also added another game to their hectic schedule after playing out a 1-1 draw with Exeter City in the first round of the FA Cup – with the replay due to take place on November 16 – as Sam Nombe‘s finish cancelled out Theo Robinson‘s opener for Bradford.
Bradford have displayed a sense of resilience with four draws from their last six in all competitions, while they have also scored in each of their last five, but two wins from their last 14 is hardly an inspiring record as they seek to restore some parity here.