Bradford City v Nottingham Forest: Bantams look to hit back by producing Cup upset

PETER TAYLOR and the League Cup are, by the Bradford City manager's own admission, not exactly natural bedfellows.

Or, as the 57-year-old succinctly chose to put it on the eve of the Bantams' bow in this season's competition: "If I was relying on my record as a manager in the League Cup to get me a job then I might struggle."

Taylor having won promotion five times in his career means, of course, that few chairmen would need to think twice if the opportunity arose to appoint a man who also proved a huge success as the manager of England Under-21s.

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But, nevertheless, the City chief's record of having seen his team knocked out at the first round stage of the Carling Cup is underwhelming.

As is an overall return of just three wins from 15 games in the Football League's knockout competition as the manager of Wycombe Wanderers, Crystal Palace, Hull City, Leicester City, Gillingham and Southend.

For that to improve, Bradford will have to beat a Nottingham Forest side who finished third in last season's Championship.

Taylor said: "It is probably the hardest draw we could have got in terms of the club, the team and the manager. Forest tick all the boxes in that respect.

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"At one stage last season, they were beating everyone and looked a good bet to reach the Premier League.

"It didn't happen in the end but that should take nothing away from how well Forest did.

"The manager (Billy Davies) is someone I have a lot of time for. He is a top, top man.

"I only really got to know him when I was Crystal Palace manager and he was at Preston, but the job he has done at all his clubs is impressive.

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"It means the game will be a massive test for us but as long as we get something out of it then I will be pleased. By that, I mean building up confidence ahead of the weekend game (at home to Stevenage).

"Forest will be expected to win because they are very, very tough opponents. But the beauty of cup football is you never do quite know how a tie will turn out."

City's own record in the League Cup is similar to that of their manager with the club only once having gone beyond the first round in the past eight years.

That came in the 2005-06 campaign when a 5-0 win at Rochdale was followed by Colin Todd's side being beaten 4-1 by West Bromwich Albion in the second round.

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Otherwise, it has been a less than fruitful competition for the Bantams who were knocked out a year ago by Forest when a crowd of just 4,639 saw Stuart McCall's side beaten 3-0 at the City Ground.

City will tonight be without striker Gareth Evans, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury sustained in the opening-day 3-1 defeat at Shrewsbury Town.

City will also be missing Michael Flynn, whose back injury is taking longer than expected to heal, but Tommy Doherty will feature at some stage after coming off the bench to play the final half-hour on Saturday.

Taylor added: "I think the first round comes a week too early every season. It is asking a lot to play 90 minutes on the opening day of a season, another 90 minutes in midweek in the League Cup and then another 90 minutes the following Saturday.

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"If we could wait a week, it would be much better for the players as three matches in a week can cause niggling injuries.

"I am not sure why next midweek is blank but I would have thought it a more sensible option to play the first round then.

"Playing a second game of the season so soon after the first will play a part in my thinking (on team selection), especially as injuries in pre-season meant not everyone got as many 90 minutes under their belt as I had hoped.

"Some of those who played 90 minutes on Saturday might find another 90 minutes a bit much to handle. It will still be the strongest side we can put out."

Last six games: Bradford City WWDWWL, Nottingham Forest LWDLLL.

Last time: Bradford City 2 Nottingham Forest 2; February 3, 2007; League One.

Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).