Bradford are looking to end their four-year stint in the fourth tier of English football, and they have put themselves in a good position to do so, having reached the playoffs for the first time since their relegation from League One.
The Bantams finished sixth during the regular season, managing to mathematically confirm their place in the top seven with a 1-1 draw against league-winners Leyton Orient in their final game.
Mark Hughes’s side have looked very likely to finish in the playoffs for quite some time, having gone on an 11-game unbeaten run earlier this year, and they were just two points off the top three after a 3-0 victory against Rochdale in April.
Ultimately, Bradford were unable to compete for automatic promotion, due to the fact they have won just one of their last five games, but Hughes is still likely to be pleased with their campaign.
One concern the manager may have heading into this game, however, is that the Bantams have not been amazing at the University of Bradford Stadium this season, collecting just the 10th-highest amount of points on home soil.
Not only that, but Carlisle did not concede a goal against their opponents in the regular season, winning 1-0 at Brunton Park back in December and drawing 0-0 in a drab away affair near the end of March.
Although they got the better of Bradford during the regular season, the Blues finished the season on the same number of points as Sunday’s opposition, amassing 76 across the campaign, finishing in fifth place due to their superior goal difference.
Much like their opponents, Paul Simpson’s side also had the opportunity to push for automatic promotion, but their form petered out at the business end of the season, winning just one of their last six matches, drawing four.
Bradford’s talisman this season has undoubtedly been striker Andy Cook, with the 32-year-old scoring 28 league goals, six more than any other player in the fourth tier, and he is a sure-fire starter in attack.
Harry Chapman has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, so Jamie Walker should get the nod at left-wing, while Vadaine Oliver has missed the last six games through injury, and the forward is unlikely to be involved.
As for Carlisle, midfielder Jonathan Mellish was shown a straight red card against Salford City at the end of April, and the club lost their appeal, meaning he is set to miss both legs of the playoff semi-final.