By Dhriti Ahir
It’s back to league action this weekend after the midweek clash with Manchester City’s U21s side.
Unfortunately for the Bantams, it was another Tuesday night defeat. Captain for the night Hope Akpan managed to get on the scoresheet and players like Tyler French, Aramide Oteh and Omari Patrick were able to enjoy some game time. Gary Bowyer stated that he wanted more players to prove themselves and this game was a good opportunity to do just that.
Now it’s back to concentrating on the league. After the brilliant win against Carlisle, the Bantams embark on what’s become a regular trip along the M180. Scunthorpe United are a team familiar to the Bantams, not only for the events that happened last season but also for having players who have represented Bradford City in recent years. Ex-Bantams include Rory McArdle, Matty Lund, Alex Gilliead, Jamie Proctor and George Miller.
All of these players apart from Jamie Proctor started the 1-0 defeat to Walsall last weekend, But Scunthorpe were also in cup competition on Tuesday night when they took on Leicester City U21s. They drew with the young Leicester side at home but lost on penalties, 3-1.
I hope that Gary Bowyer will stick to the favourite 4-4-2 formation which has helped us in recent weeks. This is an approach which fans like myself love the look of, as we are able to make opportunities happen. Bowyer likes the use of wingers and we could see that especially against Carlisle. The likes of Zeli Ismail when he came on and Harry Pritchard and Dylan Connolly, managed to attack at the Carlisle defence. Ismail and Pritchard even managed to get on the scoresheet as well.
Having now played 10 league games, we fans are getting a glimpse of what these players are capable of over the course of the hard and grueling season. The league table is now starting to shape up.
Personally I feel like this squad is starting to show it can cope with the demands of playing in front of a large fan base. They have been able to gel and make moments happen. I know we haven’t won all of our games, but the resilience shown is something to build on as the season progresses.
High-performing players include Ben Richards-Everton and James Vaughan. Richard-Everton is a player who has the height that we lacked last season. Vaughan has been crucial for us when posing a threat. His leadership is shown on the pitch and he is so passionate. He, in my opinion, is someone who demonstrates the right mentality, and that rubs off on others.
Other players that deserve a mention include Connolly, Ismail and Pritchard who make exciting moments happen. Especially on Saturday, I saw a connection between Connolly and Callum Cooke in midfield, this shows the growing understanding between players.
10 games down and I feel like this squad can go far and achieve what we couldn’t do last season. We have a good set of players who have many different attributes which contribute together as one. We have leaders on the pitch and we can see that the players want to fight for the club, the shirt, the fans and each other.
Carlisle was a good example as even though we were a goal down in the first half, we didn’t give up. When Ben Richards-Everton got sent off, we didn’t lose hope and that’s the spirit that is going to help us throughout the course of the season.
We, the fans are the ones who can make an impact on the 11 bodies who are fighting for this club week in and week out. At the weekend we achieved the highest attendance in the league and even higher than some League One and Championship clubs as well.
Personally, as a fan, I feel like Bowyer is trying to channel the special elements that make Bradford City what it is and get his players playing with that energy, passion and commitment to leave a legacy for the fans to remember. These players need to be the new ones that produce lasting memories and deliver special moments.
Ex City player’s always raise their game when playing against their old club.
That said I still think we should have enough talent and passion in the current team to come away with the points. It won’t be easy and hopefully we have a sensible referee.