Great chance for Sunderland at Bradford, says Carlisle star

Paul Thirlwell

Paul Thirlwell

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FORMER Sunderland FA Cup hero Paul Thirlwell says the Black Cats could not have a better chance of booking a third quarter­- final appearance in 11 seasons.

The Wearside­-born midfielder, who spent seven years with the Black Cats and was part of the side who reached the semi­-finals in 2004, believes that while Sunday’s trip to Bradford City has the potential for a tricky tie, he remains confident that his boyhood club will come through.

“I think we’ve done quite well at Bradford,” he said.

“I remember us beating them 4-1 and Kevin Phillips got a hat­-trick.

“Hopefully it’s one of those grounds that we do all right at. We’ll take a massive following and it’s a good little sidetrack from the league.”

The veteran midfielder, now in his eighth season at Carlisle, has warned that his former club must approach the tie with the right attitude, as they seek to avoid the same fate as other top­-flight opponents, who have under­estimated the Bantams in recent seasons.

“There’s nothing to be taken for granted there,” he warned. “Especially with what Bradford have done in the last couple of years in the cups.

“To have Bradford away and then you’re one game away from another trip to Wembley – on paper, you couldn’t have a better chance.

“All in all, we can make it a positive season and hopefully get as far as the semi-­final at least.”