Bradford City vs Aldershot Town preview
@Valley Parade on Saturday 9 March, 2013
By Mark Danylczuk
Well it’s come down to this – possibly City’s most crucial match of the campaign as it is effectively win or bust. A victory tomorrow and it’s off to Plymouth next week with renewed optimism of closing the gap further on those play-off places. But lose, and it looks set to be another season of League Two football for City’s cup heroes in the class of 2012/13.
It shouldn’t have come this far in the season. In recent games, three points dropped against Wimbledon away with another two possibly gained at Vale would have even put us five points better off. Count that against the numerous matches where City have lost by a goal or two, dropped a point here and there, and it’s the harsh reality of mid table mediocrity. I do not doubt that City could put a run together, but it would have to be some run to get into the play offs, where you are looking to win 75% of games remaining at least.
It won’t be easy against an Aldershot side that, although three points off relegation, are on a decent run of form having being unbeaten in their last five games, with two wins and a draw. After a respectful home draw against Gillingham, it won’t be easy pickings for City on Saturday with Aldershot hungry for the points to steer them further away from the relegation places. City’s back line will also need to be on top form as the Aldershot goalscoring partnership of Hylton and Reid have a respectable 23 goals between them this season.
As for City, Jon McLaughlin should keep his place after another clean sheet (and that remarkable save) on Tuesday against Vale; and the rib injury to Garry Thompson should give way to a return to the starting line up for Nakhi Wells, much in need of a few goals to boost his confidence. There is still a discussion point with the strikers though, with the heavily underutilised Alan Connell and, so far, mediocre Andy Gary still not being given their chances to prove themselves – with Nakhi suffering with fitness and poor form.
Parkinson has shuffled the pack numerous times in keeping the team fresh with the hectic schedule but the team is arguably lacking identity with this method and some stability would be welcome to get the coherence back in the squad.
The big games come thick and fast for City; as after Plymouth, it’s a trip to play off rivals Exeter. Time for the Bantams to stand up and be counted, or the only memories of this season will be THAT cup run…