Bradford City and Leeds United have been handed heavyweight Premier League opposition for next month’s League Cup quarter-final.
After heroically dumping Wigan out of the competition on Tuesday evening, the Bantams have drawn the mighty Arsenal at home, with boss Phil Parkinson understandably delighted at the draw.
He said: “We were all waiting and hoping for a big draw to come out and we’ve certainly got that with the visit of Arsenal.
“It’s a great draw for the city of Bradford, not just the club itself, and it’s a nice reward for all the hard work that our staff put in behind the scenes.
“To get one of the great teams of our country on home soil is going to be a great occasion for our supporters.”
The match will be a special occasion for Arsenal playmaker Andrei Arshavin, as the Russian star will return to the ground where he made his senior debut in Zenit St Petersburg’s Intertoto cup tie with Bradford City back in the summer of 2000.
A good omen for Bradford, however, is that during their two-year stint in the Premier League, they were unbeaten at home against the Gunners, a run which included a Dean Saunders-inspired 2-1 victory.
The match will be played on Tuesday December 11 and will be shown live on television – the extra revenue could prove timely for the Bantams, as centre-half Andrew Davies has today been ruled out for 3-4 months with a knee injury picked up at the weekend, with Parkinson looking to dip into the transfer market this January.
Meanwhile, United’s run of home draws continued with a fifth successive Elland Road date in this year’s competition against arch-rivals Chelsea, with no love lost between the pair since the FA Cup final of 1970.
Neil Warnock’s Whites are seeking to make it a hat-trick of top-flight scalps against the West Londoners, whose former chairman Ken Bates is at the helm at the club, after fine successes over Southampton and Everton.
That tie will be played on December 19 due to Roberto di Matteo’s side’s commitments in the Club World Cup in Japan.
Boss Neil Warnock said: “I don’t think we could have got a get a better draw,” said the United boss.
“It’ll be a fantastic evening for everyone. When you look at the teams that were left, with one or two getting knocked out like Liverpool, there wasn’t really anything else that whets your appetite.
Meanwhile, Leeds’s England under-21 star Tom Lees has been the subject of an investigation by the Serbian Football Association, after ugly scenes between the two nations last month.
A statement on the club’s website read: “Neither the club nor the FA, or indeed the player, have received any form of formal communication, and the FA have confirmed that they will seek at the earliest opportunity to establish the exact nature of the charge and arrange for the most appropriate legal representation.”
Huddersfield Town will host Derek McInnes’ Bristol City side on Saturday as they look to bounce back on home soil following two successive away defeats.
The Terriers slipped to 9th in the Npower Championship after the defeat at Millwall, but could climb back into the Play-Off places with a win.
Jack Hunt will not feature in Saturday’s game as he is serving a two-game suspension following his red card at Millwall.
James Vaughn remains a doubt after sitting out last weekend’s game with a thigh strain. Oscar Gobern is ruled out with an ankle problem and Paul Dixon suffered a knock on Monday but is fit to play.
Elsewhere, Ipswich Town have moved quickly to replace Paul Jewell, with former Republic of Ireland, Sunderland and Wolves boss Mick McCarthy named as their new manager.
McCarthy, 53, who parted company with Wolves in February after six years in charge, told Ipswich’s official website: “I’m obviously delighted to have been given the job as Ipswich Town manager and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.