Issue The Bantams looking for the knack

As told by Steve Baker

The Bantams go into this game looking for a first win in five, and with only one goal in the same amount of games. City are only one point out of the play off places and need to get back to winning ways to cement a chance to go to Wembley. Chesterfield are steaming up the league after a string of impressive results which only the likes of Brentford have managed of late.

The away game at Griffin Park earlier in the season was another of City’s losses on the road against the top teams in the league. It has to be said though, based on reports an account of managers and players alike, but for a free kick that shouldn’t have been, City would have taken a point from that game. Ironic that it is that point that keeps us out of the play off places at this stage.

So Brentford visit Valley Parade on Saturday looking to strengthen their grip on the League Two title. Andy Scott has done a terrific job with the resources at his disposal and it is teams like Brentford that City look at can only wonder what could have been. Nevertheless, Brentford have lost to Chesterfield, and drawn with Gillingham not forgetting the floodlight debacle away at Dagenham when live on Sky. One wonders if the re-scheduled game will be re-broadcast, something which is far too familiar…

A positive to take from the Chester result was the clean sheet. Although City have only scored one in five, Stuart McCall should be able to call on the services of Peter Thorne, who its hoped has recovered from a neck injury that has kept him out of the last couple of games. Who Thorne will partner up front is yet to be seen, though I get the feeling the ex Norwich man will work well with Paul Mullin, who whilst working hard in the last couple of games, has done nothing suggest he will be the remedy to Bradford’s scoring worries. If Thorne is not fit, expect Michael Boulding to be up top along side Mullin, and if Thorne is fit I would not be surprised if McCall reverts back to the centre forward pairing that had most League Two managers quaking in their boots in early season.

Rhys Evans keeps his place in goal after an eccentric performance at Chester, and a back four of Zesh Rehman, Graeme Lee, Matt Clarke and Luke O’Brien will be tasked with keeping the away team from scoring. There are calls for Paul Arnison to be recalled at right back, which I personally agree with. Not for his defending ability over Rehman, but his ability to get forward and not ignore the right winger in front of him. If City are to prosper on Saturday, the full backs could well be important assets to the attacking mentality.

Midfield is certainly the problem area for Stuart at present. It seems Dean Furman is the only definite name on the team sheet at present. The little South African is sure to be playing first team football for Rangers next season, with rumour of Barry Ferguson departing to Russia in the summer. Stuart then gets to pick from three of the following: Paul McLaren, Lee Bullock, Nicky Law jnr, Keith Gillespie, Steve Jones, Chris Brandon and Joe Colbeck.

Personally I would go for McLaren alongside Furman in the middle (he was the only player to consistently find another City player with the ball on Saturday) and Jones and Colbeck on the wings. Nicky Law has looked tired of late, and I for one would like to see him rested for a few games, with the potential to have a big impact on the play offs. Jones although sometimes flatters to decieve, has looked like a player who can make something happen, and with Thorne back in the mix, this bodes well for City. Colbeck gets my shout because in times like this, you need your home grown players who wont shirk a tackle, will die for the cause and more importantly will run and turn the opposition defence, something which City have not done enough lately.

This is an important game for the Bantams, and could be more so pending Chesterfield’s result on Tuesday night. Lets get behind the boys and push for that play off spot. Yes its Brentford, and yes they are on a decent run but in this League, anyone can beat anyone and City have this knack of beating teams at the top when they are up against it.

Billy Painter at Bristol City anyone?