Like the capacity crowd set to pour into Valley Parade for tonight's top-of-the-table showdown, Sunderland boss Peter Reid is relishing his side's visit to Bradford City.

The crunch clash brings together two of the form sides in the First Division with City having lost just once in their last 14 league games while the Wearsiders have suffered just one reverse in ten.

Although Reid is not the sort of manager to get carried away, it has been clear for several months that Sunderland are on their way back to the Premiership.

They go into tonight's game with City nine points clear of second-placed Ipswich and 12 ahead of the Bantams although Paul Jewell's men do have a game in hand.

And as if to confirm their credentials as the best side in the division, Sunderland have also scored the most goals this season - 68 in 35 league outings.

Reid is understandably a happy man ahead of tonight's sell-out game.

He said: "I am actually looking forward to the game and I know my players are as well. They seem to enjoy the bigger games and will be up for this one without a shadow of a doubt.

"The last time we played Bradford, they played very defensively and kept it at 0-0. When teams come up here like that then you know it will be difficult.

"But I don't think it will be like that tonight. They will want to win and that means they will come at us. That should give us a chance to get at them.

"I am expecting a good game and I will be surprised if there aren't any goals in it."

Sunderland suffered the heartbreak of earning 90 points last season without being rewarded with promotion back to the Premiership.

Instead they were thrown into the lottery that is the play-offs where they lost on penalties to Charlton at Wembley in a never-to-be-forgotten final.

Sunderland have certainly answered the critics in fine style since this season began with their record of just three league defeats very impressive when you consider top scorer Kevin Phillips has missed more than half the campaign.

However he has been back in the Sunderland side for two months now and the signs are that his partnership with Niall Quinn will soon seal promotion back to the Premiership.

Unlike the Wearsiders, City's rise to the leading pack in the First Division has gathered pace gradually after a wretched start and Reid knows his side will be in for a tough game.

He said: "Bradford have had a particularly good run. Their start wasn't the best but they have been fantastic since then.

"They have also added Dean Windass to their squad, which can only help them.

"But we are going there full of confidence and my players have already proved they can get themselves up for the big games like these.

"Bradford are going to come at us but we are not a bad side when teams do that.

"I am expecting goals - we have been creating a lot of chances which have not been going in.

"But if we can keep creating those chances then sooner or later we will get four or five."

Lee Clark is the main injury doubt with the groin injury which kept him out of Saturday's 1-0 victory over Norwich and if he is fit, he is likely to replace Darren Williams in midfield.

Reid is looking for more of the same tonight.

"I was delighted with the way my side played against Norwich - a team that could have made life difficult.

"Some of the passing and movement was outstanding and I am hoping we can keep it going against Bradford.

"I watched the Premiership and FA Cup games over the weekend and I did not see any football which was better than that played by my team against Norwich."

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