Reasons for cheer as Bradford City head towards the festive period

By Leon Steel

As the winds of winter sweep across the country, a fog of disappointment has descended upon Valley Parade. The optimism of summer is currently in the shade and Bradford City fans are wondering if the sun will shine again on our home form. Despite these gathering clouds, I still believe we have reason to be cheerful as we head towards the end of 2022.

Results at Valley Parade have been a disappointment, losing and drawing games the team was expected to win and being soundly beaten by a Northampton team that many would have expected Bradford City to at least be competitive against.

Away form has however been better than many expected with stylish wins against teams flying high in the table. This should tell fans the team can play, score goals and win. Some have questioned the shape of the team, packing the midfield and one up top but this could go some way to explaining the good form on the road.

It’s often said that home sides are under pressure to attack, get the first goal and therefore away teams will adopt a shape to absorb pressure and score goals on the counter attack. Tactics alone don’t win games and this tells us Bradford City has good players which are capable of beating some of the best teams in the league. As fans we must have hope that a winning formula can and will be found to bring the cheer back to Valley Parade.

Mark Hughes appointment was a coup for Bradford City and, during those dark days of Derek Adams, I never imagined the club could attract a manager of his calibre. It’s hard to imagine that any player the club signs could claim to have a higher profile or more experience in the game than Hughes and so he immediately commands respect. No manager should be given a blank cheque but his experience means he deserves space and time to build a team that matches his vision for the club.

Since Phil Parkinson the club has struggled to build momentum and, at a club with limited funds, this will always take time. Parkinson himself endured painful results during his first season and throughout his reign the team had spells of inconsistency, but he still built a team that fans could get behind and created a positive buzz amongst the fans. It appears that most Bradford City fans recognise this and Mark Hughes is committed to proving himself a success. 

Hughes will likely have a wish list written out for Santa (Rupp) with a central defender and a striker replacement for Kian Harratt most likely at the top of his list. Crucially, while the team still requires more depth and steel, we won’t see a mid-season rebuild. Some players may reflect that performances haven’t always been as hoped but we’ve seen some excellent displays this season, particularly by Harry Lewis, Romoney Crichlow and Andy Cook. A few key acquisitions could be all it takes to turn a promising team into a promotion winning one.

This year was a difficult one but we approach the festive season with reasons to be cheerful. And, if you raise a glass with friends or family, it’s certainly half full.

Categories: Opinion


14 replies

  1. Keeping Crichlow, Banks and Wright will be a January win for me. Pereira can go for me. We need replacements for any of the above that are recalled and ideally a midfielder. Hope Santa is listening although the dismal cup results may impact the January sales.

    • All the loanees are season long. Usually, if they are doing well as their clubs and these three all, they only get recalled because their parent team think that they might be good enough for their first team.

      Only Crichlow might get into Huddersfield’s team. But I can’t see a relegation threatened team, pinning their hopes on an untested youngster.

      • Not necessarily, Crichlow was on a season long loan at Swindon last season, which was then terminated in January and he was loaned out to Plymouth in League One.

        The three you’ve mentioned have all shown themselves capable at League Two standard so far; it’s not inconceivable that their parent clubs might want them to gain experience at a higher level. For those clubs, their own players’ development will take precedence over a City promotion challenge, unfortunately.

        However, in the same breathe, they’re all doing well at VP and crucially getting game time so hopefully they won’t take the risk of recalling them and disrupting that progress for them to potentially end up as benchwarmer in the division above.

      • It’s your last point that convinces me none of them are going nowhere, because they are getting game time and look to be enjoying themselves.

        Crichlow was dropped by Swindon towards the end of his loan spell so Huddersfield would then, rightly, send him somewhere else. However, that was an error as he hardly played for Plymouth.

        If I’m their manager, I’m thinking leave him at Bradford where he could get 35+ games.

  2. We have a central defender that has so far never been given a chance he was player of the year last season at Hartlepool we also have a striker called Young again not given a chance to show what he can do.

  3. I’m still struggling to get my head around the fact we signed 17 new player’s and have not played many of them, were they bad signings? They were all signed by MH & his team and yet we are struggling to beat some real S##t team’s that are not in the same league as us!!
    Oops they are!!
    Maybe that’s the problem.
    I’m a MH fan and believe he will be given time, but the fans need to see progress on the field as well as off it.

    • We’re 5th, firmly in the play-off just five points behind the automatic postions.

      Is that not progress?

      • I take exception with your claim that City are “firmly” in a playoff spot. A loss on Saturday could potentially see City drop to eighth place and outside the playoff places. If you want a dose of optimism the December games after Saturday look very winnable. Then again we are talking about Bradford City where nothing comes easy.

      • Even if we lost the next two, we’d be ‘firmly in the play-off race.

        With more than half a season to go, my view is largely meaningless. Bristol Rovers were nowhere near the play-offs, even in January last year and look what happened.

  4. Can’t agree more regarding the strange absence of Odusina and Young. Both were excellent against Sheffield Wednesday and have hardly been seen since?

    • Odusina looked rusty against Stockport and was subbed at half time. Nothing strange about his absence. The Wednesday performance was back in August.

      The defence hasn’t really been a problem, even now we’re amongst the lowest conceders.

      I think there’s a chance he’ll start against Orient

      Hughes alluded to not been happy with Young, stating that he’ll be considered once he gets back to his early season form/intensity. It was quite a revealing statement and clearly he’s not happy with him in training.

      I anticipate him going off on loan

  5. People expect a manager,with a high profile such as M.H. to win promotion at the first attempt,it doesn’t work like that it takes time.If M.H.had to leave now,you could bet the club would be in a far better state than it was before he came in.Someone of MH statute has far more th loose than Bradford City.

  6. Surely the priority has to be a central midfielder!!!!

  7. Step 1 drop Gillead for goodness sake,get a creative midfielder in maybe East or another,play 2 strikers this is 4th division football for goodness sake forget all these stupid formations.Lets get back to basics 442 and when we have that sorted maybe tweak when needed.We are Bradford City not Barcelona!!! I am not having a pop at MH far from it meerly stating my opinion.

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