Carling Cup launches with the Airport derby
England’s pointless friendly against the Netherlands tomorrow night may have been cancelled on account of the riots in London, but let’s not forget that the looters haven’t made off with all of the football this week as the Carling Cup gets underway.
August 9th, 2011
A handful of matches have bitten the dust tonight, as the Met Police advised West Ham, Crystal Palace and Charlton to call off their games, whilst Bristol City’s match against Swindon has also been postponed following disturbances there.
But most matches will go ahead as planned and a game that one may be able to watch on a newly acquired HD television is the proper Yorkshire ding-dong between Leeds United and Bradford City at Elland Road.
Despite the cities sharing little in common other than a small airport, it is one that both fans are very much looking forward to, even if neither side goes into this game with particularly good form. Leeds went down meekly to a 3-1 defeat at Southampton on Saturday whilst the FootballScores.com Valley Parade mole informs us that Bradford were “absolutely appalling” at home to Aldershot.
The formbook suggests that Leeds are well worth their 2/5 favouritism for tonight’s clash. Simon Grayson’s men narrowly missed out on a Championship play-off spot last season whilst Bradford had to call on the services of former player Peter Jackson to manage their way to League Two survival.
In the head-to-heads, Bradford have lost five of the last six meetings between the sides and the last time that City secured a win against their nearest and dearest (if you exclude Bradford Park Avenue), was back in February 1987.
But of course, the form book rarely tells the full story and the same is true here. Firstly, Bradford were massively unlucky on their last trip to Elland Road in 2008, when they had a huge penalty shout turned down in a 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy reverse.
Leeds also have huge selection headaches going into the game, particularly in attack. Both Davide Somma and last season’s top scorer, Luciano Becchio, are out injured whilst Robert Snodgrass and Max Gradel are amongst four United players on international duty. All of that really does make Bradford at 11/2 on the draw-no-bet and 7/4 on Bradford +1 on the handicap some very attractive prospects.
In another derby, Notts County cross the Trent to play Forest but as out Carling Cup tip for tonight, we’re heading to Bury. Unless there is some really strange team news from Coventry that we’ve not heard of, we think that they’re too high at 7/4 against League One Bury. We also think that Tranmere Rovers might fancy their chances at a Doncaster side still hurting from their last-gasp defeat at Brighton.