MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at Monday night’s League One offering between Bradford and MK Dons, live on Sky Sports.
Bradford City v MK Dons Tips | Monday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
It’s a really intriguing match-up for Monday night’s Sky Sports game. FA Cup giant-killers Bradford meet high-flying MK Dons with both sides dreaming of promotion. However, the appalling state of the Bantams’ pitch could be the real winner come 10pm.
Bradford boss Phil Parkinson has blamed the Valley Parade surface for his side’s poor performance in front of their home supporters this season (W4-D4-L6) and whilst there’s certainly an element of that in recent weeks, it’s not the soul reason for the West Yorkshire sides underperformance.
But there’s no doubt it’ll take something away from MK Dons’ rich short-passing game which has given the Buckinghamshire-side so much success this season. The Dons have lost just once in 18 league outings and tend to dominate possession. They’re rightly favourites for their trip north but I’m unwilling to invest my faith in the visitors.
Karl Robinson has easily elevated himself into my Top-5 most disliked Football League managers. Actually, he’s probably sitting pretty at the top of that list following his comments on the Football League Show from Saturday night; claiming his team were huge underdogs against Bristol City at the weekend and pleading poverty whenever possible.
Truth is, ‘Robbo’ been lucky to have one of the third tier’s biggest budgets in recent years and seen his team’s league position regress year-on-year. He’s a media darling and rarely escapes criticism but to be honest, I think the bloke is a bit of a cop-out. I’ll leave it there, just in case Karl’s lawyers are reading…
Credit to the MK supremo though, he has overseen a huge improvement in the Dons’ defensive work. They’ve leaked just once in their previous five and that includes fixtures against City on Saturday and Sheffield United. They’ve conceded just seven goals in 10 games on their League One travels.
But there’s a real case to be made for Both Teams To Score. The visitors have netted in all bar two of their away trips, firing in 27 goals in total on the road, whilst Bradford have scored in 15/17 games at Valley Parade this season.
MK and ‘Robbo’ have a deep squad to delve into so playing 48 hours later shouldn’t affect them too much. And although Bradford’s eyes could be on Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Sunderland, they do possess the Indian sign over their high-flying visitors.
Phil Parkinson’s hosts have won the last four League One head-to-heads between the two sides including a 2-1 success at Stadium:MK earlier this season. I’m inclined to think the pitch will work in Bradford’s favour too; the aerial threat of James Hanson and the hold-up play of Jon Stead should suit the conditions more than the Dons’ possession football.
So I’m willing to put my faith in Bradford with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap market with BetVictor offering 5/6. Backing this selection means we’ll be in profit should the Bantams bag three points but also collect half of that potential payout should the game end all square. Only an MK Dons victory would leave us empty-handed and their road record (W6-D5-L2) certainly gives us room for encouragement.
However, it is worth noting Bradford’s penchant for conceding late goals. Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Port Vale saw the fourth goal to be leaked by the Batams after the 90-minute mark in their last 11 matches with opponents scoring after the 74th minute in seven of their last 11 matches too. So get that finger over the ‘Cash Out’ function once the game heads into the final fifth of action.
Bradford City v MK Dons – Bradford City +0.25 Asian Handicap (5/6 BetVictor)
Bradford City v MK Dons – Both Teams To Score (8/11 BetVictor)
Is Mark barking up the wrong tree with Bradford? Will MK Dons prove too good for the Bantams? What’s your best bet?
We’d love to know your views on Monday night’s League One meeting so let us know in the comments box below.
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