Shrewsbury Town v Bradford City: Injuries will not deflect Bantams from aiming for long FA Cup run

Frustrated: Gary Bowyer.
Frustrated: Gary Bowyer.
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Gary Bowyer says Bradford City are going through one of the worst injury crises he has known – as a player or manager.

The Bantams are at League One Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup first round and have strikers Clayton Donaldson and Shay McCartan, and midfielders Matty Palmer and Jordan Gibson all missing.

Joe Riley’s season has been ended by a knee injury, and a torn hamstring tendon ruled out Jamie Devitt for up to four months in September.

At least Harry Pritchard and Dylan Connolly returned in last weekend’s win over Exeter City.

“We have been disrupted by injuries,” said manager Bowyer. “It is one of the worst injury situations that I’ve been involved in as either a player or a manager. We will try to get a few back.

“We will just have to see how everybody is for this weekend.”

The postponement of next week’s League Two trip to Colchester United because of the Us’ international call-ups at least offers some relief, but City are at home to Rochdale in Tuesday’s EFL Trophy game first.

They have already used 26 players in their 16 League Two matches.

Despite that, Bowyer is not bemoaning the FA Cup as a distraction, as managers increasingly tend to.

“I don’t look at it as a hindrance to have a cup run at this particular stage,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to possibly create memories.

“It’s a case of keep working hard and not get carried away with ourselves. Nobody is going to give us anything.

“Keep getting better, that’s what I’ve been drumming into them from day one. We will take it game by game.

“We brought in a hell of a lot of players in the summer. We have got to get them settled in.”

Shrewsbury have won all of their first round matches since 2014, while Bradford have won three of their last four FA Cup ties against higher-division opposition, most notably beating Chelsea and Sunderland en route to the 2015 quarter-finals.