MX23RW : Friday, December 8 19:28:01| >> :600:1834042:1834042:
[monks data]
Bradford City
League Two | 1st Leg
May 14, 2023 at 7pm UK
University of Bolton Stadium
Carlisle United
1 - 0
Walker (18')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Whelan (8'), Garner (32')

Preview: Bradford City vs. Carlisle United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's League Two clash between Bradford City and Carlisle United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Bradford City take on Carlisle United at the University of Bradford Stadium in the first leg of their League Two playoff semi-final on Sunday evening.

The winner across two legs will progress to the playoff final at Wembley on May 28th, where they will come up against either Salford City or Stockport County.

Match preview

Mark Hughes in charge of Southampton on September 17, 2018© Reuters

Bradford are looking to end their four-year stint in the fourth tier of English football, and they have put themselves in a good position to do so, having reached the playoffs for the first time since their relegation from League One.

The Bantams finished sixth during the regular season, managing to mathematically confirm their place in the top seven with a 1-1 draw against league-winners Leyton Orient in their final game.

Mark Hughes's side have looked very likely to finish in the playoffs for quite some time, having gone on an 11-game unbeaten run earlier this year, and they were just two points off the top three after a 3-0 victory against Rochdale in April.

Ultimately, Bradford were unable to compete for automatic promotion, due to the fact they have won just one of their last five games, but Hughes is still likely to be pleased with their campaign.

One concern the manager may have heading into this game, however, is that the Bantams have not been amazing at the University of Bradford Stadium this season, collecting just the 10th-highest amount of points on home soil.

Not only that, but Carlisle did not concede a goal against their opponents in the regular season, winning 1-0 at Brunton Park back in December and drawing 0-0 in a drab away affair near the end of March.

Although they got the better of Bradford during the regular season, the Blues finished the season on the same number of points as Sunday's opposition, amassing 76 across the campaign, finishing in fifth place due to their superior goal difference.

Much like their opponents, Paul Simpson's side also had the opportunity to push for automatic promotion, but their form petered out at the business end of the season, winning just one of their last six matches, drawing four.

Last time out, Carlisle confirmed their place in the playoffs against Sutton United, although they did so in unconvincing fashion, drawing 1-1 at Gander Green Lane after a late own-goal from Joe Kizzi.

Bradford City League Two form:

Carlisle United League Two form:

Team News

Bradford's talisman this season has undoubtedly been striker Andy Cook, with the 32-year-old scoring 28 league goals, six more than any other player in the fourth tier, and he is a sure-fire starter in attack.

Harry Chapman has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, so Jamie Walker should get the nod at left-wing, while Vadaine Oliver has missed the last six games through injury, and the forward is unlikely to be involved.

As for Carlisle, midfielder Jonathan Mellish was shown a straight red card against Salford City at the end of April, and the club lost their appeal, meaning he is set to miss both legs of the playoff semi-final.

Consequently, Alfie McCalmont is likely to keep his place in the engine room alongside Owen Moxon and Callum Guy, while Omari Patrick and Kristian Dennis should lead the line, with the latter player netting 20 League Two goals, the third-highest total in the division.

Bradford City possible starting lineup:
Lewis; Halliday, Stubbs, Crichlow-Noble, Ridehalgh; Gilliead, Clayton, Smallwood; Banks, Walker, Cook

Carlisle United possible starting lineup:
Holy; Barclay, Huntington, Whelan, Armer; Moxon, Guy, McCalmont; Edmondson, Patrick, Dennis

SM words green background

We say: Bradford City 1-1 Carlisle United

Carlisle have drawn a number of games against some of the better sides in the fourth tier recently, including Stockport County and Northampton Town, so it would not be a surprise if nothing separates the two sides.

In truth, Simpson would probably take a draw in the first leg, as although Bradford's home form has not been sensational, it is likely to be a very tough place to go for a game of this magnitude, with the crowd in full voice.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

ID:513721:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect11064:

Previews by email

Click here to get Sports Mole's daily email of previews and predictions for every major game!

Game History

How you voted: Bradford vs Carlisle

Bradford City
Carlisle United
Collect / Create New Data
Share this article now:
Northampton Town manager Jon Brady pictured in May 2022
Read Next:
League Two final day permutations: Automatic promotion and playoff places to be decided
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free daily transfer newsletter! Sent twice a day during the transfer window.
rhs 2.0
MLS Apple TV+ Messi promo
Today's games header
Tables header RHS
1Stockport CountyStockport20133440202042
4Mansfield TownMansfield1999134171736
5Crewe AlexandraCrewe19106340281236
6Notts County2011364236636
8Swindon TownSwindon208664336730
9Accrington StanleyAccrington209293029129
10AFC Wimbledon197752922728
11MK Dons197663127427
13Crawley TownCrawley198383033-327
14Bradford CityBradford207582427-326
15Newport CountyNewport207493036-625
16Harrogate TownHarrogate2073102027-724
17Doncaster RoversDoncaster1972102531-623
18Salford City2064103033-322
20Grimsby Town204882732-520
21Colchester UnitedColchester2062122840-1220
22Tranmere RoversTranmere2053122733-618
23Forest Green RoversForest Green1943122035-1515
24Sutton UnitedSutton2035122640-1414

MLS Apple TV+ Messi promo
New Apple Music general promo - 300x250

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sports Mole provides in-depth previews and predictions for every match from the biggest leagues and competitions in world football.
Argentina's Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup trophy after collecting the Golden Ball award on December 18, 2022Sign up for our FREE daily preview newsletter direct to your inbox!