Bradford City vs Rotherham United preview
@Valley Parade, Tuesday 16 April, 2013
By Mark Danylczuk
Automatic promotion? You would have laughed at the thought a couple of months ago but the dream was very real at the 90th minute on Saturday. A mere six minutes of injury time later, and it’s a very different story. It’s time to re-gather the troops and focus.
What a six-pointer we have on our hands tonight, with both teams vying for promotion with this crucial game in hand. The match has more significance than it ever should have done – this fixture should have been played at the end of February, but the Bantams instead were pitting their wits in the League Cup Final at Wembley. Some reason for having the game re-arranged, eh?
For Rotherham, a point would guarantee their play off position whereas three points would take them into the automatic promotion places with their superior goal difference. For City, the win would keep us four points ahead of Exeter in 8th place and well on the way to securing a play off spot. A further three points on Saturday for the Bantams should be enough to secure a play off space. With our fate in our hands, we are in the best possible position to achieve this.
Rotherham, like City, are on a decent run having won their last two – in turn doing City a favour by beating play off rivals Fleetwood Town and Exeter City. We will have to keep star striker Daniel Nardiello quiet, with the Millers striker having hit 20 goals already this season. With boo-boy Steve Evans at the helm, we can expect a physical and mental battle –the manager being well-known for issues around sportsmanship and gamesmanship, notably with his current club and Crawley Town previously.
As for City, we can expect a similar line up to Saturday. The impressive pairings of James Hanson and Nahki Wells up front, and Gary Jones and Ricky Ravenhill in midfield can expect to keep their places. Wells could not pick a better time to be getting back into form: spearheading City’s promotion push. We will need the Bermudian to be as sharp as ever. With Ravenhill getting a boost from getting his first goal of the season on Saturday and with Gary Jones as ever in inspiring form, the pair could win the key midfield battle and put the game in City’s control in trying to get the win.
There could be a couple of changes elsewhere though. With Kyel Reid being forced off at half time on Saturday after tweaking his groin, this could result in a start for Zavon Hines or Will Atkinson in the midfield. Michael Nelson may begin again in place of Andrew Davies, who was injured in the warm up on Saturday.
Although a mid-week fixture may deter some from attending, we City fans need to be buoyant in getting behind the team even after the disappointment of Saturday. With Rotherham expected to bring a big following to add spice to the Yorkshire derby, it is time for City to bounce back, stand up and be counted.
The play offs are within reach and it’s in our hands – a win on Tuesday and it’s almost job done.