Southend United vs Bradford City preview
@Roots Hall on Saturday 15 December, 2012
By Jason McKeown
After no doubt spending the week on cloud nine, the challenge tomorrow for Bradford City players of refocusing on the bread and butter of League Two football is not inconsiderable. The UEFA team of the week, the big football story of the past few days – the national stars from Tuesday will be appearing at glamorous Roots Hall. And with Southend in strong form and just two points behind City in the league, this is a promotion six-pointer that could prove vital.
Everything we know about Phil Parkinson this season will tell us that he will have kept his players’ feet on the ground. That City lost only one match in-between defeating Wigan and what seemed like a long wait for the Arsenal game – with all the distractions around it – was a fantastic achievement in itself. With the Bantams on the road until Boxing Day, a good points haul from the trips to Southend and Wycombe could lift us from the brink of the automatic promotion places and into the top three.
Will Atkinson and Nahki Wells are injury doubts for City, after limping off injured during the epic 120 minutes against the Gunners. Parkinson may also look to test the depth of his squad across the games tomorrow, on Tuesday at Brentford and Wycombe on Saturday. Expect as close to an unchanged side as possible tomorrow. The goalkeepers have been neck and neck most of the season, but Matt Duke suddenly seems to have pulled well ahead of Jon McLaughlin in the battle for number one. Stephen Darby, Carl McHugh, Rory McArdle and James Meredith make up the back four.
Nathan Doyle and Gary Jones will surely play tomorrow and sit it out midweek, with Garry Thompson and possibly Blair Turgott on the wings. Up front James Hanson and Wells must both be attracting some serious attention from higher clubs after being so impressive against Arsenal’s backline. Alan Connell stands by to replace Wells.