Wembley? Forget it – Oxford is next up for Bradford City, warns Duke (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Wembley? Forget it – Oxford is next up for Bradford City, warns Matt Duke
Matt Duke insists City would be mad to think they have already got one foot down Wembley Way.
The euphoric scenes at Valley Parade that followed Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa left the club dreaming of reaching the Capital One Cup showpiece for the first time in their history.
But keeper Duke, the hero of the night with a glut of big saves, reinforced the message that nobody in the dressing room believes they are bound for the final.
And he once again stressed the importance of carrying the incredible cup form into the league.
Duke said: “We’re not going to sit back now and think of Villa. We’re back in training today and preparing for Oxford at home.
“It would be foolish to celebrate anyway – we’ve got nothing to celebrate at the moment. There’s only half a job done.
“And as amazing as this run has been, we’d still swap it for promotion. If our league form dips now, people will say it’s distracting us. But hopefully we can do both.”
City became the first team in League Cup history from the fourth level to beat three sides from the top division. But despite seeing off Wigan and Arsenal in the previous two rounds, Duke admitted he was stunned that they could do it again.
He said: “We had to make sure we went to Villa Park with something to hold on to and keep the tie alive. If you’d offered a 3-1 win before the game, we’d have snatched your hands off.
“It was a phenomenal effort, especially with the young lads in the back four. But that’s the difference from last year when the squad was massive. Now it’s a lot smaller but it’s a good one.
“The players who come in have done a really good job. When we’ve had to go into the loan market, people like Curtis (Good) have been fantastic.
“The young lads have fitted into the team and that’s credit to themselves because they have to go out there and perform. Hopefully they’ll learn from games like that and go on to have good careers.”
Carl McHugh’s late header restored City’s two-goal cushion and gave them a genuine shot at completing the upset at Villa Park.
Duke said: “That was massive for us. When it got back to 2-1, everybody automatically thought Villa would come back again and get the equaliser.
“Even at 2-1, the second leg was going to be so hard. But we always looked like scoring and hit the bar and things like that, so we knew we could get another one – and it was a great header from Carl.
“People thought we could get something but we knew we had to perform like we did against Arsenal. Villa’s league form hasn’t been what they want but they’ve still got a fantastic squad. Some of the players they had out there were frightening.
“We had great performances against Arsenal and Wigan but to beat a Premier League team over 90 minutes was fantastic.
“It’s not sunk in yet but we can’t get complacent. It was a great night but we’ve still got to go down there and put in the same performance to get another result.
“We’ll be well prepared for it but we’ve got massive league games coming up first. We didn’t really discuss the Arsenal game until the Monday before and it was the same this week.
“The cup is still a bonus and we’ve got to put it to one side. We all want to get out of this league.”