FA Cup giant-killings are often overstated but Bradford City’s 4-2 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month was up there with the greatest shocks the competition has witnessed.
To come back from 2-0 down against Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders, as Phil Parkinson’s side did in such style, captivated fans all over the country and turned the spotlight on the third-tier Yorkshire club.
Strange then, that their home fifth-round clash against Premier League Sunderland on Sunday did not tickle the fancy of the TV executives who have declined to broadcast the tie live.
All the ingredients are in place for a feisty affair by any reckoning.
Sunderland are struggling for form, Bradford are in the fifth round for the first time in 18 years and the Valley Parade pitch has been described as the worst in the country by Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
In the words of Andy Halliday, one of the goal-scoring heroes against Chelsea, “the place will be rocking.”
“It has certainly set a high standard,” he told Friday’s Bradford Telegraph and Argus. “The only way to possibly match that now is to go as far as we can in the Cup.”
Poyet joked that he would ask the groundsman at Sunderland’s training ground to create a bobbly pitch to prepare his team for the tie at Valley Parade.
The focus on the pitch has irked some Bradford players, though, as the quality of football they produced at Chelsea was far removed from the “route-one” tactics often employed by lower tier underdogs against the Premier League elite.
“They aren’t going to be over the moon to be playing on it but they are elite athletes playing in the Premier League,” Bradford striker Billy Clarke said.
“I don’t want the whole week to be about the pitch and Sunderland not fancying it. They are going to be up for it as much as we are.”
“Everyone at the club is really looking forward to Sunday, the fans included. It’s not very often these big games come about and we should take it all in,” he added.
“On paper, it’s not going to be harder than the last round.”
Bradford’s Premier League days may be a fading memory, but they are no strangers to Cup heroics, reaching the League Cup final in 2013 where they were beaten by Swansea City. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Alan Baldwin)