Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer has revealed lofty ambitions for this year’s Carabao Cup by urging his players to create their own history in the competition.
Having kicked off the 2019/20 campaign by picking up two points from a possible six on offer in League Two, the Bantams will now be looking to cause an upset tonight when they face Championship side Preston North End at Valley Parade.
The cup clash comes seven years after Bradford launched their astonishing run to the League Cup Final by defeating Notts County in the opening round of the competition.
Then managed by Phil Parkinson, the Bantams ended up knocking out Premier League sides, Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa before succumbing to Swansea City at Wembley Stadium.
In making it to the last-two, Bradford became the first team from the fourth-tier to feature in the showpiece event since Rochdale in 1962 (via BBC Sport).
Speaking to Bradford’s official website ahead of his side’s clash with Preston, Bowyer made reference to the club’s recent relationship with the League Cup by admitting: “We have spoken a lot about the 2013 team and had a lot of meetings about it when I first arrived at the club.
“There are pictures up in [the] dining room at the training ground, so everyone is aware of the magnitude of the achievement.
“It is now up to the players to create their own history.
“We want them to question the point of being at the club if they are not determined to achieve something special.
“We want to win this game – as we do every game – and are desperate to get into the next round.
“We have stressed to them how much of an opportunity it is. It is now up to them to stand up and be counted.”
Although it would be a mammoth task for Bradford, or any other League Two side to repeat the heroics seen during the 2012/13 campaign, the club’s players will nevertheless be extremely determined to knock out Preston tonight.
If they can take inspiration from what the Bantams have achieved in the past, there is no reason why they cannot cause a shock by overpowering the Lilywhites.
Whereas Bowyer’s number one focus for the current campaign will unquestionably be to secure an immediate return to the third-tier following last season’s relegation, the money gained from a long cup run could benefit Bradford massively as it may allow them to re-invest in their squad during the January transfer window.