How the Bookies See it:
- Match Winner: Bradford 19/20, Draw 9/4, Fleetwood 16/5 - William Hill
- First Goalscorer: Charlie Wyke (BRA) 4/1, Billy Clarke (BRA) 11/2, David Ball (FLE) 13/2, Alex Gilliead (BRA 15/2 - Bet365
- Correct Score: Bradford 1-0 9/2, Draw 1-1 5/1, Draw 0-0 13-2 - Sky Bet
- Bradford City were a picture of consistency throughout the season, occupying a top-six spot and proving very tough to beat. Only champions Sheffield United suffered fewer defeats, while second-placed Bolton Wanderers were the only team with a better defensive record. Bradford ended the season in decent form with four wins from their final six matches, finishing with a 1-1 draw at Rochdale.
- Fleetwood Town finished just ahead of Bradford in fourth place, but had been in contention for automatic promotion going into the final day and had to settle for a play-off spot after Bolton won and they could only draw with Port Vale. The Trawlermen had won their three previous matches and were also defensively impressive all season, conceding the same amount of goals as Bradford (46).
- Bradford got the better of the league fixture between the sides at Valley Parade, coming from behind to win 2-1 in September. Fleetwood took their revenge at home, hitting back from a goal down to triumph 2-1 in February.
The form of both sides, the fact they finished in fourth and fifth place and the head-to-heads between the two this season all suggest that the first leg of the semi-final will be extremely close. Add in the defensive records of the teams and the significance of the occasion, and it seems a tight, low-scoring scoring encounter might also be on the cards.
Fleetwood, who have never previously made it to English football’s second tier, will nevertheless be confident of finding the net at some stage. They have scored in 21 of their 23 away games this term, with David Ball particularly potent up front. Bradford, meanwhile, are unbeaten at home all season, although more than half of those matches have ended as draws and there has been a frustration among fans about the number of chances that have been missed.
One crucial factor could be that Bradford boss Stuart McCall was able to make nine changes to his side at the weekend with a play-off spot assured, while Fleetwood were gunning for a victory which could have clinched automatic promotion. With such a fast turnaround, and home advantage, a smart punt could be for Bradford to edge the first leg 2-1 just like they did when the teams met earlier in the season, at very enticing odds of 8/1 with Bet365.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Bradford to win 2-1 at Bet365
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.