Cup kings Bradford can inspire us, says HoldsworthBy Jon Couch
January 24, 2013
DEAN HOLDSWORTH says his Aldershot Town side can draw inspiration from league rivals Bradford City when they make the trip up to the Riverside to face Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
The Bantams stunned the football world on Tuesday night by becoming the first club from the bottom tier of the Football League to reach a Wembley final after a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final success over Aston Villa.
Now Holdsworth believes his Shots can take heart from the achievements of their League Two counterparts as they go in search of a cup upset of their own against Tony Mowbray’s Championship side.
“Bradford’s performance was a great advertisement for League Two football and full credit to them,” Holdsworth said.
“They can inspire us and it may also worry teams in the Championship that you can’t be complacent against teams in this league.
“I wasn’t surprised by what they did, to be honest. Bradford are a big strong side and Villa are a very inexperienced team.
"They deserved their victory and I wish them all the best in the final.”
But while City chief Phil Parkinson dreams of Wembley, Holdsworth’s attentions turn to the Riverside and the chance to lock horns again with ex-centre back Mowbray after the pair enjoyed a few tough battles in their playing days.
“I remember playing for Bolton in the play-off semi-final when he was at Ipswich,” Holdsworth recalled.
“They won that year but I think I scored four goals in those two legs so hopefully I’ll come out on top on Saturday.
“I’ve played at the Riverside, it’s a magnificent stadium and Middlesbrough are a massive club. I nearly joined them under Bryan Robson in 1997.
“I can’t wait to lead my team out there, it’s what inspires me as a manager and as a player, it will be a great occasion for me as well as the lads.
“This is like our cup final, but it’s 11 versus 11 and we have a chance. The situations we’ve been through against West Ham, Wolves and Manchester United in the last two years have stood us in good stead to show we can play good cup football.
“As always our preparation will be thorough and we will give all the lads all the information they need. Middlesbrough have very kindly let us use their training facilities on Friday so we’ll go up on Thursday and prepare the best we can.”
Saturday’s game will be the first competitive meeting between Middlesbrough and Aldershot, although Jack Charlton’s newly-crowned second division champions travelled to the Recreation Ground in May 1975 to provide the opposition in a testimonial match for popular Shots defender Richard Walden.
Boro boss Tony Mowbray is likely to make a number of changes to his starting line-up this weekend as he looks to juggle his FA Cup hopes with a recent slump in league form.
Mowbray’s men lie a promising fifth in the Championship table but have lost their last three matches in the league – a run split only by their 4-1 FA Cup success over Ryman League minnows Hastings Town in the last round at the Riverside.
Two-goal hero that day, Moroccan midfielder Merouane Zemmama, is expected to be one of the main threats again for Holdsworth’s men, but former England Under 21 international striker Ishmael Miller is out after damaging ankle ligaments in the recent 2-1 defeat to Watford.