Re-focusing minds as Wycombe come to Bradford

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Kevin Ellison scores for Bradford City on Wycombe’s last visit to Valley Parade, February 2011

Please note: a pitch inspection is scheduled at Valley Parade for 11am Friday morning, with the prospects of the game going ahead not looking promising. Either way, Width of a Post has some more post-Villa articles to share with you – so stay tuned!

Bradford City vs Wycombe Wanderers preview

@Valley Parade on Saturday 26 January, 2013

By Mark Scully

The last time we had a massive high against Aston Villa we followed up with a dire performance against Oxford United, last time out at Valley Parade whilst on League Two duty. I’m hoping lighting doesn’t strike twice when Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers visit Valley Parade this Saturday.

I now am starting to realise what it must be like for the Bradford lads having played the likes of Villa, Arsenal, Wigan etc in a midweek, but then having to prepare for a standard league game against smaller opposition in front of smaller crowds. It will certainly be a big come down and, to be honest, that’s exactly how I feel – struggling to get excited about playing Wycombe. That’s largely down to the massive buzz that will not go away until after the cup final.

However, the league form has tailed off in recent weeks and we now sit down in 10th place, which isn’t good enough. Hopefully now, with a gap until the final, the players and management can switch their focus back to the ‘bread and butter’ and guide us safely back into a play off position or the top three. The latter might well be a stretch to far, but the play-offs are a minimum.

I think Phil Parkinson might well shuffle his pack ahead of the game to ensure everybody is fresh. New signing Michael Nelson is likely to start and I’d give Carl McHugh a rest. The youngster, who has today been called up to the Republic of Ireland U21 team, has played more games than anyone would have imagined and will benefit from a little rest. Dickson could come back in for Good at left back, although personally I’d stick with the Aussie youngster – Dickson hasn’t impressed thus far; although having said that he’s now only played two games in around a year and it will take time for the Southampton loanee to get back into his normal stride.

Aside from those changes, I think Parky will stick with the same midfield and strike force that performed so heroically on Tuesday night at Villa Park. The likes of Garry Thompson and Kyel Reid will likely come off the bench. Also Andy Gray, who struggled against Oxford on his debut.

Having suffered back to back home defeats and performed poorly in both of the games against Rochdale and Oxford United, the need for a positive result and performance against Wycombe is vital. We can’t afford to slip further down the table – whilst it isn’t the end of the world if that happens, we don’t want the gap between us to the play offs to get any wider. And, without being disrespectful to Wycombe, we should really be looking at getting the three points at home to them – although I said the same about the last two home league games…

Gareth Ainsworth’s side arrive in West Yorkshire in decent form. Having lost on New Year’s Day at home to Exeter, they have bounced back with wins against Chesterfield and Dagenham at home whilst picking up a point at AFC Wimbledon. Currently sat in 16th place, a win for The Chairboys will put them just a point behind Bradford, something we really need to avoid – we don’t want to be sucked into the mid table battle, we are miles better than that this season.

Hopefully the sensational cup performances can be replicated into the league form over the coming weeks. The likelihood is that Wycombe will come and sit back; looking to hit us on the counter attack something we need to be wary of. Personally I think Bradford will comfortably return to winning ways, the euphoria and feel good factor that is sweeping about the club and the city as whole.

Prediction : 2-0 CITY



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