A sad day for Bradford City as Tyreik Wright heads to Plymouth Argyle

By Jason McKeown

Tyreik Wright is heading out of Valley Parade as parent club Aston Villa are recalling and selling the 21-year-old to League One high flyers Plymouth Argyle.

It is a big blow to Bradford City’s promotion prospects. Wright, who joined the club on transfer deadline day in August, has been one of the standout performers for the Bantams over the first half of the season. Wright has started 14 games and made three sub appearances, netting four goals and providing two assists. But that tells only part of the story of a player who established himself as a key player despite considerable competition in his position.

Wright is that rarest of lower league wingers – a skilful wide player with an end product. Right from his debut off the bench against Walsall in September – where within minutes he skinned his full back and charged forward at a speed the Saddlers’ defence could not keep up with – Wright has caught the eye for his pace, trickery and intelligence.

His decision making has been especially impressive. Sometimes a player of Wright’s type can struggle for the brain to keep up with their physical pace, but so often he would make the right decision between playing a pass to a team mate or charging at his opposition marker (and, blimey, is he a good passer). He was able to cope with the physical demands of League Two as well, and no opponent was able to successfully intimidate Wright into shying away from the ball.

Finally, Wright is versatile, as shown by City recent formation change from 4-1-3-2 to a diamond – the sort of narrow set-up where wingers rarely flourish. Wright has been pushed up front to partner Vadaine Oliver and fared really well higher up the pitch. In both the Harrogate and Salford wins where he played as striker, Wright walked off with the sponsor’s man of the match award.

It was a great piece of judgement by the club to bring in Wright. Up until his Valley Parade move, Wright had experience some fairly nondescript-looking loans spells at Walsall, Salford and Colchester. He didn’t do anything of huge note to suggest he would make a big impact at City. But in the right environment and set-up built around his strengths, Wright has relished the big stage and flourished.

There are whispers that City stood a good chance of keeping Wright, who was out of contract at Villa Park in the summer. But with higher league interest, the Bantams would always struggle to keep someone who will rightfully have ambitions of playing further up the football pyramid. Indeed, should Argyle continue their table-topping form Wright could find he is a Championship player in a matter of months.

For City, Wright’s shock departure underlines the downsides of relying heavily on the loan market. With Wright, it gave City access to an exciting young Premier League player who could easily have sunk rather than swam, without the risk of being saddled with a long-term contract if it hadn’t worked out. But when anything is borrowed, it’s not yours to keep or decide the future of. And so all the development work City have put into Wright’s career counts for nothing financially.

With other loan players Romoney Crichlow and Scott Banks right at the heart of Hughes’ plans, Wright’s exit also highlights the risks of losing other squad members. Whilst it seems unlikely Huddersfield and Crystal Palace would want to recall Crichlow and Banks to play in their first teams, should another club higher up the leagues come knocking in the way Plymouth did for Wright, there might not be much City can do to prevent losing them.  

The careful, well-thought out summer recruitment showed City prepared for all sorts of scenarios – and losing loan players must surely be on that list. So whilst there will be disappointment within Bradford City right now, it’s likely there will be contingency plans in place to make sure Wright’s exit doesn’t unduly impact the rest of the season. The overlooked Dion Pereira could be looked on to step in for Wright, or the club might go into the market to sign a replacement – permanently or on loan. What will be interesting is whether Hughes sees the diamond of approach of late to be a long-term plan, or temporary solution to get City back on track, before 4-1-3-2 returns. In other words, does he need to replace Wright the wide player, or Wright the striker?  

Whatever happens next at City, Wright will be missed by a fanbase who traditionally has always loved a wide player. The list of loan players in recent years who have been successful is far shorter than those who proved a disappointment, but there is no question which group Wright belongs to.

We’ll watch his career with interest, ruing the fact Plymouth have got themselves a real gem.

Categories: Opinion


12 replies

  1. Players get injured, players lose form, loan players get recalled especially when they are playing well. These are thee we facts of footballing life. Managers have to cope with them. We wish the lad well, give praise and thank for what he achieved with us and will follow his career with interest. We must always remember no player is irreplaceable – and Wright’s leaving opens the door for someone else.

  2. It is a loss, but I have to believe we are covered? Could Jamie Walker play that role? If it’s a diamond would we see Oliver and Derbyshire as an option? Pereira/Banks we hope find some form could step in. If it’s back to 4231 in the future having Walker/banks/Chapman/Osadebe/pereira as 3 from 5 feels ok?
    I am not saying we are improving but it as the other poster mentions, it does feel like an opportunity for someone to step up, and it’s from a group of people who probably had aspirations of expectations of starting games for us week on week.

  3. Gutted about this one tbh. Think he’s been one of our better players this season.

    Hopefully we will be able to bring some one In the help offset the impact.

    Good luck in the future Tyreik Wright, I’m sure your going to have a good future in the game.

  4. Wright is a big loss but City are blessed with options when it comes to wingers. I doubt he’ll be replaced. However, Hughes’ goal of having a stronger squad at the end of January now looks iffy. I think the final Table could look significantly different than it currently stands. Especially, the playoff places with 12 clubs within 5 points of fourth place.

    • I still think that we are one of five best teams in this division.

      Hughes has 23 days, Derbyshire has already improved the squad. Wright weakened it. But plenty of time for him to have a look.

      Remember, he bought Wright and Banks in as last minute additions, partially due to Walker and Osadebe getting injured. Not certain we need yet another creative wide man.

      But this money might get us another midfielder.

  5. Of all the players we were potentially looking to offload, to enable strengthening of the squad, Tyreik Wright would have been at the bottom of the list.

    Make no mistake, this is a massive setback. At our level, the opportunity to sign someone of his ability is a rarity.

    We certainly don’t have a ready made replacement on the books – the Pereira of last season may have come close – although he doesn’t possess the same goal scoring ability, and this season’s version is a major disappointment.

    I’ve read elsewhere, fans consoling Wright’s departure with, “no one is irreplaceable”. Well, I think Tuesday night will debunk that theory. Out of the blue, our promotion hopes have taken a big knock.

  6. A prediction. City go up and Plymouth miss out. We play them home and away in League One and win both. Stevenage beat Villa today. Anything can happen !

  7. Well you certainly got the first bit right, Tony W.
    Let’s hope your bookie’s sleeping uneasily tonight.

  8. What initially looks a great move for Tyreik is in itself a big gamble.
    He’s leaving a slowly improving City side where he’s established himself into one of the first names on the teamsheet.
    To join a club that may go up, and are highly likely to struggle next season.
    As we’ve seen with Vernham, Tyriek may struggle to get a first team spot and his development stall.
    It’s all if’s and but’s, however, football isn’t a museum and quickly changes, he may shortly be looking back at VP thinking if only.
    Good luck to the kid, however i believe he’d have been better off sticking with us, for 18months at least.

    • Vernham started the season injured at Lincoln and has never got going.

      I think it was far more of a mistake for him to go to Lincoln than Wright making his move.

      Not least because Vernam had already failed at L1 level and really still needed to prove himself at L2.

    • Highly likely to struggle based on what exactly? As an Argyle supporter, I can assure you that should we be lucky enough to get promoted, which is by no means a given, we have a superb structure in place as a football club, not only on the pitch, but also the way the club is run, the people in the background, the statistical analysis that forms the basis of everything player related, we are a club on the up in a big way.

  9. Wright will certainly suit Plymouth Argyle’s playing style – and the club need themselves to cover Morgan Whittaker’s recall from loan by Swansea City. He really has been excellent, scoring crucial and majestic goals as well al laying on several for teammates.

    As Bradford have found out themselves, recalls are a risk of relying on loan signings…

    Tyreik can be sure that under Steven Schumacher he will get plenty of game time.

    All the best to Bradford for the rest of the season

    Hopefully Argyle remain just one division higher than City next season – but in the Championship!

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