Peterborough United manager Steve Evans admits his side have made further progress in the FA Cup much harder than necessary.
Posh travel to bottom League One club Bradford City for a second round replay tonight (December 11) still smarting at their failure to win the original tie at home on December 1.
Posh drew that game 2-2 despite leading 2-0 with six minutes to go.
The winners tonight will travel to Championshop side Middlesbrough in the third round on Saturday, January 5. Extra time and penalties will be employed to find a winner tonight if necessary.
“We felt hard done by not winning the first game,” Evans said. “We felt we played well and created enough chances to win easily, but Bradford can quite rightly point to their fantastic spirit and never-say-die attitude that day.
“We had a great opportunity to already be through to the third round and now the task is that much harder. Bradford are showing signs of life in League One. They’ve started to score goals which is no surprise as they have good players, experienced players and a good manager.
“I watched them beat Oxford in their last home game comfortably. They were top class with their own fans behind them so we are under no illusions what we are facing tonight.”
Evans expects to make changes to his startling line-up with goalkeeper Conor O’Malley among those pushing for a recall.
There is a temptation to rest first-team regulars Alex Woodyard, Rhys Bennett and Ryan Tafazolli, but Evans says his key men are keen to keep playing.
“I broached the subject of a rest with Alex Woodyard and he just stared at me as though to say ‘I dare you’. It would be good to get a rest into our central defenders as well, but they are keen to play. They all love playing, and they have not missed a day of training between them either, but obviously we have a lot of games coming up over the holiday period so I have decisions to make.”
Young striker Matty Stevens is ineligible tomorrow having played in the FA Cup while on loan at Slough.
He will instead lead a very young reserve team in a game at Mansfield.
“Matty’s time will come soon enough,” Evans added. “Obviously our level is a lot higher than Slough’s, but Matty has looked lively and bright since he came back to us. He’s also a wonderful kid.”