Giant-killer Bradford within sight of final Wembley

Giant-killer Bradford within sight of final Wembley

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom - Agence France-Presse
Giant-killer Bradford within sight of final Wembley

Bradford City’s Carl McHugh (bottom) celebrates with teammates after scoring the third goal against Aston Villa during an English League Cup clash.

Aston Villa must overturn a 3-1 deficit in the second leg of its League Cup semifinal today if it wants to avoid becoming the latest team to fall to giant-killer Bradford City.

Fourth-tier Bradford has already accounted for Arsenal and Wigan Athletic in this season’s competition and its shock 3-1 win at home to Villa Jan. 8 took it to within 90 minutes of a first final appearance in 102 years.

FA Cup winner in 1911, Bradford is bidding to become the first side from England’s fourth tier to reach a major final since Rochdale lost to Norwich City over two legs in the 1962 League Cup final.

To do so, Bradford must hold off a Villa team that showed real signs of improvement in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Midlands rival West Bromwich Albion, albeit despite letting a two-goal lead slip.

Bradford’s exploits in the League Cup have thrust manager Phil Parkinson into the limelight and he recently rejected an approach from Blackpool over the Championship club’s vacant managerial position.
“This is a great club and it would have been bad practice of me to look to move with everything we have got going on,” Parkinson told BBC radio.

“The fans and board have been exceptionally good to me and I want to repay that by bringing success.”