Championship Reading go into their FA Cup quarter-final replay against Bradford as 9/20 FA Cup betting favourites to progress to the last four for the first time since 1927.
However, to do so they will have to dispose of a Bantams side who, along with Sheffield United, have become the most feared knockout artists in English football.
Since Phil Parkinson arrived at Valley Parade in August 2011, the Bantams have put together a formidable CV of upset victories over sides from higher divisions.
Across the FA Cup, Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Bradford have taken out 13 adversaries who were plying their trade further up the Football League at the time during that period.
They are 7/4 to qualify against the Royals, who should be under no illusion that bringing the Yorkshire side back to the Madejski will see their rivals fold having missed their chance.
After all, Bradford came through their first replay against ‘giant’ opposition under their current manager against Millwall in the third round of this year’s competition.
Nor will an away day faze them, having bested Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two rounds back, while they held their nerve to eliminate Premier League Wigan on penalties at the DW Stadium during their famous Capital One Cup run of 2012/13.
Their shootout chops are another reason to believe in the Bantams, who are quite simply the best side in the land when it comes to the 12-yard lottery.
They’ve won an English record nine in succession with five of the six contested under Parkinson accounting for sides from higher divisions.
Reading have won just three of their eight home games to date under Steve Clarke, losing three of their last four and cannot be backed for victory within 90 minutes with confidence at 17/20.
The normal-time draw is 5/2 while Bradford are 17/4 to cut down their hosts without recourse to the extra half-hour or another penalty shootout.
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