SOUTHEND United manager Paul Sturrock believes Bradford City’s Capital One Cup antics will make Saturday’s showdown between the two teams at Roots Hall a more even contest.
The Bantams stunned Premier League giants Arsenal by beating them on penalties on Tuesday night.
And, with Blues also winning on spot kicks against Bury in the FA Cup on the same evening, Sturrock feels both sides will be in similar physical shape this weekend.
“When our game went to extra time I have to admit I was fearful about our game with Bradford and them being fresher than us,” said Sturrock.
“I was therefore delighted to find out their game had also gone to extra time and penalties so they will be just as worn out!
“But for them to beat Arsenal is an unbelievable result and they will be on a real high.
“They’ve been in fantastic form and are probably right up there in the form guide with ourselves so it should be a good and very even game on Saturday.”
Blues go in to the game on the back of beating League One Bury 3-2 on penalties to take their unbeaten run to 11 matches.
The two teams had been locked level at 1-1 at the end of normal and extra time.
However, Sturrock felt his side deserved to go through to the third round of the competition.
“I thought we were just about the better team and warranted winning the game,” said Sturrock.
“I don’t watch penalty shoot outs so I was back in the dressing room when it was going on.
“But I was delighted to hear we had gone through.”
That happened despite Gavin Tomlin failing to convert his own penalty during the shoot out.
The Blues striker saw his attempted chip easily saved by Bury goalkeeper Trevor Carson.
And Sturrock confirmed he would be having words with the forward.
“I will certainly be talking to Gavin and he definitely won’t be trying that again,” said Sturrock.
“I told the players to hit their penalties hard and true and Gav didn’t do that so we will be having words.”