AFC Wimbledon vs Bradford City preview
@Cherry Red Records Stadium on Saturday 16 February, 2013
By Mark Danylczuk
A hint of optimism in the air. Some light at the end of the tunnel after a winless start to 2013. The win at Wycombe in the week has well and truly kick-started the promotion push, and the manner of the victory serves as a true reminder that Bradford City are more than capable of pushing on and grabbing that elusive play off place. It’s a long way to go until the end of the season, but a game against the division’s bottom club, AFC Wimbledon, provides the perfect opportunity to get another three points and move further up the table.
City could not be playing Wimbledon at a better time. They have only picked up three points of a possible 15 in their last five games, conceding five and scoring none in the last two games. They also have the worst goal difference in the division. The year started off well for the Wombles, with two wins in five days against Torquay and Rochdale in January, but it has been downhill ever since. The January transfer window provided Wimbledon with an opportunity to bring in reinforcements, and this included the return of veteran ‘keeper Neil Sullivan at the age of 42.
For City and Phil Parkinson, the choice of the starting 11 will prove tricky, as arguably most of the side on Tuesday will deserve to keep their place in the team, particularly Andrew Davies who had an excellent game back at centre half and Kyel Reid, who terrorised the Wycombe defence with some good end product. Alan Connell is surely due a game up front as Andy Gray still struggles to make an impact, and it would also make sense to keep James Hanson and Nahki Wells fresh and bring them on, only if needed.
There will be further competition at the back as along with Davies. Michael Nelson provided a solid performance at Adams Park, and Parkinson now has the dilemma of two good centre back pairings, with Rory McArdle and Carl McHugh waiting in the wings. Being the last game before Wembley, you could say players will be conscious about staking their place for a game in the cup final and, on the other hand, not getting injured for it. There are many scenarios. But after the morale-boosting win, nothing short of three points will do really and Parkinson will certainly instil his belief in the players in getting the all important win.
The last meeting between the two sides way back in August gave City their largest win of the season, 5-1. Wimbledon will be looking to gain revenge and capitalise on their game in hand on the sides above, in order to climb clear of the relegation places. City will be of a similar thought in using their games in hand to progress up the table, and it’s set up for a tasty six-pointer in South West London this Saturday.