Lawn: Semi is Bradford's final

Bradford chairman Mark Lawn is ready for unbearable tension at Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.

Last Updated: 21/01/13 at 18:22 Post Comment

Bradford City: Hope to finish the job at Aston Villa

Bradford City: Hope to finish the job at Aston Villa

Bradford's joint chairman Mark Lawn is preparing for some unbearable tension when his club face Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.

The Bantams, who will defend a 3-1 first-leg lead, stand on the threshold of another historic victory, one game away from becoming the first club in the bottom tier of English football to reach Wembley in a major cup final.

Lawn's nerves have had plenty of practice since Phil Parkinson's League Two side embarked on the greatest giantkilling run in modern times, with famous victories over Wigan, Arsenal and Villa, but the 52-year-old is set for another rollercoaster ride of emotion.

"My heart says extra time and we win on penalties," he told Press Association Sport.

"I just know we're not going to do it the easy way, they'll put me through the wringer and I'm ready for it."

Rarely does a club from the lower divisions capture the country's imagination in a cup competition in the manner Bradford have done this season, and if Lawn's hunch proves correct and the tie does head for penalties, Parkinson's boys should not flinch.

They are already the shootout kings of British football, winning their ninth successive spot-kick showdown when defeating Arsenal 3-2 in the quarter-finals.

"It's been incredible," Lawn said. "You've got to look at where we've come from, where we are in the league. The effort has been amazing.

"The backroom staff and the cleaning ladies down at the training ground, I'd like to say a big thank you from the fans and the club.

"It's been beyond our wildest dreams. A very close friend of mine who sat next to me in the first leg said the return at Villa Park is our Wembley final.

"That's the way I'll be approaching it. My head says anything else is a bonus."

Bradford's only major honour was achieved back in 1911, when they beat Newcastle 1-0 in an FA Cup final replay at Old Trafford after a goalless draw at Crystal Palace.

Should the impossible be made possible at Villa Park tomorrow, it will be the club's second Wembley appearance in its 110-year history after Chris Kamara, more famous for his Sky Sports punditry, led them to an old Second Division play-off final win against Notts County in 1996.

Eager to keep it all in perspective, Lawn said: "That was the old Wembley. It would be the club's first trip to the new Wembley.

"It would also be the first time a club from the fourth division, or whatever you want to call it, have ever reached Wembley in a cup final.

"Rochdale got to the League Cup final back in 1962, they actually lost to Aston Villa, but the final then was played at home and away."

But for all the romance and the spotlight the club has enjoyed in recent weeks, Lawn concurs with his manager Parkinson's assertion that the season will end in disappointment if they do not win promotion in May.

"The cup run has definitely started something. Hopefully we can build on this because the most important thing is the league," he said.

The Bantams have lost their last two league games and have slipped out of the play-offs, but still remain just five points adrift of an automatic promotion spot with a game in hand.

"Phil won't let the season hang on this one match," Lawn said. "He's too sensible a manager.

"His man-management is first-class, the players know what this season is all about and I'm sure he won't let that happen."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

still can't see the Phil Jones thing that some people go on about. Whenever I watch him play it's a repeat of headless chicken meets a gurning Bambi on ice for 90 minutes.

diabolicaldiaby
F365's Top Ten Defenders Of The Season

P

robably the first list I've come across in a long time where I agree with a large majority of what was written. Can't agree with everything though, Zaba has had an awful season by his standards, I'd put Monreal (a player who I've never rated) up there, gotta give credit where it's due, he's really stepped up his game.

scroteymcbooger
F365's Top Ten Defenders Of The Season

S

ome top analysis here..... UNITED WOULD BE TOP IF IT WEREN'T FOR ALL THEM GAMES THEY LOST

benvo81
United Progress Stifled By Bottom-Half Record

Footer 365

Pep Guardiola says Bayern Munich's 3-0 loss to Barcelona was harsh

Pep Guardiola insists Bayern Munich's first-half tactics against Barcelona worked well and the 3-0 defeat was "harsh".

Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich: Lionel Messi double puts Barca in control

Two goals from Lionel Messi helped Barcelona beat Bayern Munich 3-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Graham Taylor rejects claims he was asked to cap number of black players in England side

Graham Taylor has denied claims that the Football Association tried to cap the number of black players when he was in charge of the England team.

Mail Box

Coutinho Better Than Cazorla And Cesc...

Philippe Coutinho has outperformed Santi Cazorla AND Cesc Fabregas, while Arsenal need no new signings. We also have mails on Olivier Giroud and shopping lists...

Giroud Is More Than Good Enough...

Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott are integral to Arsenal's title hopes next season. There's also more on handballs, Juventus, and Ronaldo holding Bale back...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company