Crewe Alexandra: Mark Ellis confident of taming Bradford City's giantkillers
MARK Ellis is hoping to do what Arsenal and Aston Villa couldn't ... keep a cup clean sheet against Bradford City.
Bradford have provided one of the stories of the season so far with their run to the League Cup semi-finals, with front man Nahki Wells often the inspiration for their achievements.
Arsenal were dispatched on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Valley Parade, while Villa were beaten 3-1 in the first leg of their last-four encounter there last week.
In the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, League One strugglers Hartlepool and League Two table-toppers Port Vale have been suckered by the basement tier promotion chasers.
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So while the bookies fancy an Alex win when the Bantams visit Gresty Road in that competition this evening, Ellis knows his job of keeping Wells and Co quiet will be vital to how the match unfolds.
He said: "Wells is having a great season and they've got a big centre-forward too in James Hanson who is a handful. There is a few we need to watch out for to be honest.
"They are certainly not going to be pushovers, you just have to look at what they have done to Arsenal and Villa. They will be out to cause another little upset against us, that's for sure.
"One-off cup matches like this are always a bit unpredictable, but hopefully we can get past them."
The winners of tonight's tie will be through to take on Coventry over two legs in the northern area final, with either Leyton Orient or Southend United awaiting in the final at Wembley.
Crewe have reached this stage of the Football League Trophy, in all its various guises, on six occasions in the past, but have only progressed once – in 2006/07, when they lost a thriller in the next round to Doncaster Rovers.
In the league, the Railwaymen continue to sit just three points off the play-offs despite picking up one point from their last two games, not that the 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient on Saturday was anything to be sniffed at.
"It was a tough game and we did well to get a point, particularly after the performance in the first half was not so good," added Ellis.
"We have got a good enough team to push on and we have to keep plugging away, picking up as many points as possible."
Meanwhile, two weeks into the transfer window, Crewe manager Steve Davis has confirmed he has still had no inquiries for any of his young squad.
"It's still all quiet on the western front," he said. "Hopefully it stays that way."
At Bradford, it is the manager himself who is in demand.
Championship side Blackpool have been asking for permission to interview Phil Parkinson about their vacancy, apparently keen to make him a "double your money" offer.
"The chairman (Julian Rhodes) said we'd had an approach (from Blackpool) and would I like to speak to them," explained Parkinson.
"But my initial thoughts are that I'd have a chat with my wife, but I'm happy here and enjoying it."
Wells suffered a cut to a leg when he collided with an advertising board after scoring in Bradford's 2-1 loss against Oxford at the weekend, but should be fit.
However, left-back James Meredith is expected to be out for the rest of the season after being diagnosed with glandular fever.