English FA Cup
November 3, 2012
Defensive problems for Bantams
Bradford have been hit by a defensive injury crisis ahead of their trip to npower League Two rivals Northampton in the FA Cup, with both regular centre-backs being ruled out.
Andrew Davies and Luke Oliver were forced off against Burton last weekend and missed the midweek Capital One Cup defeat of Wigan.
Oliver has since been ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury, while a twisted knee is expected to keep former Stoke defender Davies sidelined for up to four months.
Stephen Darby and Carl McHugh deputised in the shootout victory over the Latics on Tuesday, keeping a clean sheet in the process and the pair are expected to retain their places in the Bantams back-line at Sixfields.
These two sides met only a week ago in the league, with Bradford running out 1-0 winners.
Chris Hackett and John Johnson are expected to return to the Northampton squad.
Midfielder Hackett has recovered from the groin strain that has seen him miss two games while full-back Johnson has been out for a month following keyhole surgery on a torn knee ligament.
Town boss Aidy Boothroyd said: "Chris and John are both back in training so providing they come through that OK, they will be available for Saturday.''
Striker Alex Nicholls will not play again this season after suffering a broken leg during the 2-0 league victory over Port Vale last weekend. He joins fellow long-term absentees David Artell (Achilles) and Luke Guttridge (broken metatarsal) on the sidelines.
However, fellow midfielder Ben Harding is making good progress in his recovery from an ankle injury and he should be back in first-team contention towards the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Boothroyd hopes to agree a deal to extend goalkeeper Lee Nicholls' loan spell from Wigan in time for the 19-year-old to face the Bantams.