Look left: Peter Taylor’s left wing returns to Valley Parade

Kevin Ellison celebrates scoring on his Bradford City debut, February 2011

Bradford City vs Morecambe match preview

@Valley Parade on Tuesday 18 September, 2012

By Joe Cockburn

There will be little to no reaction when City fans see former left back Robbie Threlfall’s name on the team sheet tomorrow evening. It will be the certain someone ahead of him who we are looking out for.

Kevin Ellison returns to Valley Parade for the second time following his largely unsuccessful loan spell towards the end of Peter Taylor’s tenure. Last time we remember well. Coming off the bench to score a late equaliser, then angering fans with his celebration, coupled with his disappointing 12 appearances on loan in 2010, fans don’t exactly have fond memories of him to say the least. Having been left out on Saturday, could he be set for a return to the side tonight? Or does that mean he is out of favour at the moment? Either way, he will play some part, even if it is simply antagonising the fans on the sideline. Anyway, it’s not all about him, let’s move on.

Unbeaten at home, City will be expecting another win in front of the Valley Parade faithful tonight. But the opponents are unbeaten away, and are yet to concede a goal outside of the Globe Arena. They will prove stern opposition, and will be a good test for Phil Parkinson to see how his side are truly doing, after, let’s face it, two home wins against teams who will end up towards the bottom come the end of this season.

Three points here should be expected. As Jason said in the Barnet preview, a promotion chasing team should look at the home double-header and aim for 6 points from 6. Half of that is there, but Morecambe surely will not be as bad as Barnet.

They will be a much more physical side, with big men all over the pitch, as well as quality and pace out wide. Izak Reid is a player I admire, look out for him on the right hand side should he play. I expect Threlfall to pose a big threat on the left flank, no matter who is there ahead of him.

There will be a big focus on the manager’s tactics tomorrow, after he got them miserably wrong against both Rotherham and Accrington, he has some important decisions to make.

First of all, I fully expect Rory McArdle to keep his place at right back. E***son is Morecambe’s out-ball and they will look for him with the majority of passes. I just don’t think Stephen Darby has the physical presence to cope with him. It disappoints me, as McArdle has not played well (note that I have only seen the team from Rotherham onwards) in the last few games, and is definitely not a right-back, which frustrates me because you need a right back at right back if you want to pose a serious attacking threat, and a centre back does not do this. Every time McArdle gets the ball, he plays an inaccurate long diagonal pass, resulting in the loss of possession. This needs to be addressed.

With Threlfall also on the left hand side, the right midfielder will have to do a lot of defending. Whether Phil Parkinson realises this or not, is a different matter. Due to his style of play, whenever Threlfall was in the team he was forbidden to cross the half-way line, but Parkinson needs to realise him as a serious attacking threat. If he does, expect to see Will Atkinson on the right hand side of midfield. Garry Thompson is another who could do the defensive job, and I would like to see him given a chance against his former employers. If not, and Parkinson sticks with Zavon Hines, I think he will struggle to play his part to the level we know he can.

For me, however, Hines does not deserve to be dropped. A very good performance at Accrington was rewarded with him being substituted after an hour. Kyel Reid needs to be dropped for me. I have yet to see him play well this season – and that includes the three pre-season friendlies I went to. He looks lazy, unfit and arrogant. He seems to have let it get to him that he is the best player at the club, and he needs to be taught otherwise. He has rarely taken on his man, thinking he can simply stand just inside the opposition half and whip an aimless cross in. He has shot too often, and as a result looks half the player he was towards the end of last season.

Then the middle of the park. Again, Nathan Doyle is yet to impress me this season, and Ricky Ravenhill will undoubtedly be chomping at the bit to get back in the side. Ravenhill is clearly a player Parkinson likes, and with Doyle still not being at full fitness yet, he could find himself starting tonight.

But, while I am typing this, the thought occurs to me that Doyle could play right back. He is known in these parts as a right back, and won’t exactly be a push-over for the man he would be against. If Parkinson feels the same as me about McArdle, then that could be a possibility, and now I think about it, why couldn’t it happen?

Hopefully we will see some continuity with Alan Connell keeping his place up front alongside James Hanson – despite that horrendous first half miss – as I feel he is key to our link up play, and keeping the ball in the opposition half. Nahki Wells was poor at Rotherham and didn’t look too cracky in his short appearance against Barnet, so he shouldn’t just walk back into the team when fit.

Three points is the order of the day, but a performance better than the one against Barnet would be the bare minimum we could expect. We need to take something down to Oxford, as that is sure to be a very tough game.

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15 replies

  1. You are clearly not a Parkinson’s fan Joe. Tactics miserably wrong, whether Parkinson’s realises Threlfall can cross half way line and best of the lot you are shocked when Hines who is clearly not yet match fit was taken off who you regard as the best player. As for your comment about Reid and arrogance and should be axed,well I think that comment should apply to Wells who clearly thinks he is better than he is.

  2. Tuesday is a big student night in Lancaster, so I doubt ‘Big Kev’ will be able to get the night off. He’ll be manning the door at Elements, but listening on the radio inbetween fighting running street battles with disinterested weedy teenagers.

  3. Parkinson got the tactics ‘miserably’ wrong against Accrington? What utter tosh… I hope he gets his tactics miserably wrong every game if we outplay top 5 sides on their own patch when we do!

  4. Hi Joe. Hope your well. Ive read that through twice and I think your being a bit harsh on a number of fronts. McArdle has had a slight wobble but is a good right back as proved against Fleetwood. Hines was withdrawn at Accy because he was fatigued. Doyle has yet to impress you. Is that because you expected him to be better or because you dont feel he has done his job properly? I think Doyle and Jones have been very impressive as a pair and it is in that position of the field that we are most improved this season.The tone of the article suggests a general unhappiness about things. We have won 5 drawn 1 and lost 2 against decent opposition. More of the same I say whilst the players continue to gel and form a good side.

  5. Does seem to me to be an overly critical in places given our start to the season. Paul is right about the tone, not something you want before a game.

  6. What a load of negative drivel, McCardle has been solid if not spectacular and Reid has done well if not hitting the heights of last season and only in one game has Parkinson made an error in judgement. Let’s be positive about the season so far and get behind the players and the manager!

  7. An over negative view in my opinion, i thought we’d just won three on the bounce at home, another one and it’s the best start for 50 years, as far as i can see none of the players deserve dropping especially Reid who is a match winner, he’ll come good shortly, hopefully tonight. I think McArdle is doing just fine at right back, haven’t noticed much poor distribution from him. Big Kev will be up for it tonight so we’ll need Rory in there bringing strength and quality to that position. I couldn’t be much more happy with our start, taking into account the fixtures, it’s excellent stuff from all concerned. Got to say i’m very impressed with Connell, what a very intelligent player, cracking signing by Parkinson, one of many he’s made in the summer.

  8. Of course I hope players play well, especially Reid, as we have seen that he has it in him, but he hasn’t shown anywhere near it yet.
    I expected Doyle to be better, yes, but then again he didn’t impress me when I saw him for Barnsley last season. He looked then like he looks now, and with many saying he is yet to be fit, I am worried that he isn’t getting any fitter.
    Obviously I didn’t see McArdle against Fleetwood, and he will surely improve against a more physical side than Rotherham or Barnet. However if you take notice of him on the ball, you will notice his distribution.
    Agree with Wells, he has been very poor in the games I have seen him. Also needs a kick up the backside.
    Chris, you clearly didn’t go to Accrington then. One up front didn’t work, he played it over-cautious against them and under-cautious against Rotherham.
    I still don’t know if I am a Parkinson fan. Every time he does something which impresses me, he does something to take it straight back.

  9. Fair enough Joe, god knows how you would feel if we had had a bad start to the season. Maybe we should put our trust in the manager and enjoy our start to the season. This is not aimed at you but too many City fans are always seeking to find something to tarnish a positive situation. We win Saturday, ah but we will lose Tuesday type of mentality. These lads are 4th division players for a reason. If Reid was consistent and always delivered a final ball he would be in the Championship. If Doyle got round the pitch more he would be in the Championship etc etc. The team is much much better than last season. Can we not just enjoy that and try and stay positive?

  10. I would echo the above comments that this article is uneccessarily negative.

    Kyel Reid isn’t yet hitting the form he showed last season, however to call him arrogant is extremely unfair in my book.

    Also, I cannot understand the comment that Nathan Doyle has not impressed this season- for me, he has been our top performer alongside Gary Jones but everyone is entitled to an opinion. A friend of mine who is a season ticket holder at Barnsley was gutted to see him leave as he believed Doyle was consistently one of their top performers. I’m not sure what is really expected of him?

    When all is said and done, I am extremely satisfied with the way the season is going so far and I am confident we can continue our run of home victories this evening.

  11. Hi Joe, thanks for the interesting article. It’s good to get some fresh opinion whether one agrees with it or not. I thought I’d just give you some feedback on your comments about Kyle Reid. Whilst I agree with you that his crosses can be hit and miss his recent reluctance to get forward and beat his man may be as a result of having two wingers and being under instruction to play a more conservative role; he mentioned this in a post-match interview shortly after Hines became a regular in the team. So it may be team orders or a period of familiarising himself with the new role that may be affecting his game. Regarding the ‘lazy, unfit and arrogant’ argument. Having talked to him after the Wexford game, I can report what a pleasant family man he is who cares about the team doing well this year. To be fair to you, you do state ‘he seems…’ but to be fair to him he is far from arrogant.

  12. Miserably wrong?

    A: 4 – B: 9
    On target
    A: 1 – B: 5
    A: 1 – B: 4

    Doesn’t matter if I was there or not, we could have been three up at half time, had far more chances than them.

    This is against a team who were fifth until yesterday, away from home. We got a point but could have had three – there’s nothing ‘miserable’ in any of this (whether I was there or not)

    Perhaps your expectations of what we should be achieving and the way we should be playing (Brazil ’70, it seems) are out of whack with the realities of life in League 2?

    Someone put on Claret and Banter, I think it was, that against top half teams Swindon and Shrewsbury BETWEEN them only picked up 3 wins and 4 draws away from home (I haven’t checked this, so feel free to correct me if it’s wrong)… shed in that light, this result and performance is far from miserable!

    • Chris, because you didn’t go to the game, you didn’t get to see the whole aura of what it was like. The radio lies. A lot.

      Firstly, I said the TACTICS were miserably wrong. Not necessarily the result.

      As I said, because you weren’t there, you didn’t see how bad Accrington were. They were truly dismal. If they are above 13th position come the end of the season I will eat my toe. And my toes are rather large. He got the tactics miserably wrong by playing 4-3-3 for over 70 minutes. It worked OK in the first half, Hines being the focal point. But in the second half, it didn’t work at all. Reid wasn’t effective, Hines wasn’t effective, and Hanson’s headers weren’t going to anyone because the midfield were so deep. All of this was clear 5-10 minutes into the second half. It was so bad that fans near me were arguing about the route home.

      Yet nothing changed. We wanted another striker. The chants were there of “attack attack attack” but nothing. We hoped when Thompson was getting ready, but then that was countered when Rory McArdle got ready with him.

      The bottom line was we waited for them to score to react. Parkinson was settling for a point. Only then did Connell come on, and after that, we murdered them. 3 or 4 clear cut chances, Connell having at least 2 and the goal. When he did what he should have 15-20 minutes earlier, it changed the game. It didn’t take a genius to notice that it wasn’t working.

      • Perhaps Accrington looked dismal because of our tactics though… there’s always two teams on a pitch at any one time.

        Fair enough either way, we’ll have to agree to disagree.. that’s the beauty of football 🙂

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