Issue When signing Tom Clarke McCall sends the squad the wrong message

As told by Michael Wood

Tom Clarke – who joined from Huddersfield Town on loan for a month – is most probably a good player. The Town Academy system at the freezing cold Studentville that is Sthores Hall has a good reputation for a reason and the number of player filtering into the rank and file of professional football is that reason.

Clarke will add a full back option and put pressure on Matthew Clarke who has had his form drop recently. Realistically man mountain Clarke (M) was always going to have a downturn. He is speedy, he is good in the air and he can tackle. There had to be a reason why he was knocking around League Two on free transfers and perhaps consistency is it.

Nevertheless Clarke pressures Clarke and hopefully performances improve but by delving into the loan market to bring in a player who with only a handful of games under his belt and no real track record McCall has added to – rather than adding on top of – the quality of the squad.

The quality of City is under question. The six bad games have concluded with the Bantams dubbed dire following the 2-1 defeat at Darlington on Monday night. What that says about the rest of the league is interesting. But for the late goal flurry the Bantams would have ended level with Darlington and while you might argue that City would not have deserved the point for a lack of attacking endeavour – if you do argue that point then you must often come away from Valley Parade convinced that City deserved the win because often when at home we are the only side attacking – but a point we would have had in a not dissimilar way to how Luton Town took one from us a few weeks ago.

All of which raises two interesting questions. Firstly if the Bantams are dire for trying to do what Luton did to us were they then not dire against Luton – consider at will – and secondly if one is edged out of games at the death when playing “that badly” then perhaps the calibration of the division has it that the League is won by the team that plays “very poorly” rather than “dire”.

I recall thinking just before the first goal at Darlington that City need only have snuck in one of the two chances that edged past Barry Conlon’s foot to have turned the game on Monday into a win. The performance would hardly have been better but the result could have been and City – oddly as it sounds in the current debate climate – could have gone top.

Perhaps then with the idea that playing dire is only one step away from winning games McCall would – I believe – have been better working within the squad and addressing the issues that have arisen within the last six games that differed from the first six to try return to previous form.

The Bantams – with Tom Clarke – play a Grimsby team that have not won all season in the league hoping to do what Chesterfield have when they claimed a first win in seven last night and put a marker down that the bad times have ended.

By bringing in loan players for squad places McCall risks that marker suggesting that the slump in results is more permanent than can be fixed by returning to the basics of providing quality supply to dangerous forwards alleviating defensive problems by virtue of having the ball in the oppositions net more.

The players – and lest we forget the maxim about players winning you games – need to get back to the first six game mindset and know that should they – the current squad – do that then the wins will return.