FA Cup sixth-round draw: Bradford handed home hope – but will BBC bite?

Ties to played on the 7/8 March

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FA Cup giant-killers Bradford City were given the home sixth-round draw their manager, Phil Parkinson, wanted last night and, in being paired with Reading, the next lowest-ranked side after them, have been handed an excellent chance of reaching the last four for the first time since 1911.

After knocking out Chelsea and Sunderland, Bradford will be confident of beating Steve Clarke’s Championship side, but following the row caused by the BBC snubbing their fifth-round win for live coverage, it is not certain if they will feature on Match of the Day Live. All four of the matches will be shown live but with the games split between the BBC and BT Sport.

The BBC conceded today that it wanted to improve the way live games are chosen after it passed over Bradford’s tie because Sunderland were not confirmed as their opponents before a replay. “Clubs understandably want to get plans for ticketing, policing and fans in place without waiting for 10 days for TV companies to confirm their selections,” said BBC football lead executive Mark Cole. “But we hope there’s a middle ground where we can get a little more flexibility.”


In the rest of the draw, the holders Arsenal face a tough trip to Manchester United, a repeat of their sixth-round tie four years ago, which United won 2-0.

There is a West Midlands derby, with the new Aston Villa manager, Tim Sherwood, welcoming West Bromwich Albion, the club he nearly took charge of last month, to Villa Park.

Finally, Liverpool entertain Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Anfield and will fancy their chances of keeping alive Steven Gerrard’s hopes of ending his career with the Merseyside club in the final on 30 May – his birthday.

The draw in full

Liverpool vs Blackburn Rovers

Bradford City vs Reading

Preston North End/ Manchester United vs Arsenal

Aston Villa vs West Brom

Ties to played on the 7/8 March