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Bradford v Villa: Given would relish semi-final opportunity

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Bradford v Villa: Given would relish semi-final opportunity


Shay Given would relish the opportunity to feature at the Valley Parade tonight - after revealing he almost joined Bradford as a teenager.

The Bantams offered Given his first professional trial as a 15-year-old, although he eventually linked up with Celtic.

With a Wembley place at stake, a partisan atmosphere in prospect and a potential trip down memory, the Irish goalkeeper is eager to start in tonight's semi-final first leg.

"There is a good excitement amongst the fans," said Given.

"The semi-final is going to be a red hot atmosphere at Valley Parade.

"I had my first professional trial at Bradford City when I was 15 so it is good memories going back up there.

"It was the first team I ever went to when I left home. We know how lively the atmosphere will be up there.

"Arsenal had their full strength team out there and were beaten so if we take it lightly we will get punished.

"But Wembley is touching distance away and we've done ever so well to get this far with some great away results at Man City and Norwich and not many home games."

Although he declined the chance to sign for Bradford, Given reflects fondly on his short spell with the Yorkshire club.

The 36-year-old is aiming to create more happy memories on his return.

"The trial went well. They wanted to sign me but I decided to go somewhere else. I went to Celtic.

"Frank Stapleton was the manager at the time. It was the first club I went to.

"The captain was Dean Richards, who is no longer with us. He was a leader as an under-17 and under-18 guy.

"It's good memories going back there. Hopefully it will be good memories after the game on Tuesday because we know we are in for a big battle."

Make sure you're there to back the lads against Southampton.

By @AVFCOfficial 8th January 2013
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