League Two Bradford and Championship Middlesbrough made the playoffs in their respective divisions last season but have both struggled so far this season.

However, they now have some respite from their league exploits as they meet in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, two months to the day after drawing 3-3 in pre-season.

This is the first time the Bantams have reached the third round since the 2014-15 season and only the second occasion since famously reaching the 2013 final, only to be humbled 5-0 by Swansea at Wembley.

Boro have also struggled in this competition, with this their first third round appearance since suffering an underwhelming quarter-final defeat at home to Burton in 2018-19.

They arrive at Valley Parade fresh from a morale-boosting 2-1 win over Southampton. Their only away wins of the season have come in this competition and Michael Carrick may not be too sad to see the back of it, especially with a potentially pivotal trip to Watford on Saturday.

Bradford vs Middlesbrough Prediction

  • Bradford to win @ 18/5
  • Andy Cook Anytime Scorer @ 11/4

Team news

Home boss Mark Hughes is expected to name a strong side to boost hopes of an upset and could select Emmanuel Osadebe, who impressed off the bench at the weekend. Taylor Smith and Jamie Walker have rotated in attack but Smith could get the nod after falling out of the XI in recent weeks.

For Boro, goalkeeper Tom Glover could come in for Seny Dieng between the posts, but they have no fresh injury worries, with Anfernee Dijksteel and Matt Clarke still sidelined.

Bradford to win @ 18/5

While Middlesbrough sit 22nd in the Championship, Bradford are 11th in League Two and snapped a string of three straight draws with a 4-1 win at Newport on Saturday.

After losing in last season’s playoffs, Hughes will feel it is promotion or bust for the campaign but an EFL Cup run could boost his team’s momentum.

City needed penalties to get past Accrington and Wrexham but both games were on the road and they will be happy to return to home turf, where they are unbeaten this season.

Boro’s road woes are an issue and that victory against Southampton was their first win in the 2023-24 Championship.

Watford’s mixed form means a win at Vicarage Road looks realistic and a lack of focus could cost them on Tuesday.

Andy Cook Anytime Score @ 11/4

Star striker Andy Cook’s form has mirrored City’s slow start to the season. The 32-year-old netted 31 goals in all competitions last term and finally got off the mark at Newport, and in some style, netting a hat-trick at Rodney Parade.

Cook scored against both Hull and Blackburn in last season’s Carabao Cup and will not be overawed by taking on another Championship defence.

Born around half an hour or so west of Middlesbrough in Bishop Auckland, the striker should be raring to go and should start as Hughes eyes an upset.

Cook often raises his game for the big occasion and after scoring twice in the pair’s 3-3 pre-season draw, could impress again on Tuesday. 

Share Article

(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)