Issue That game, this game

As told by Michael Wood

City’s game at AFC Bournemouth ended 1-0 to the home side who march on towards promotion while City – well – City just march.

The Bantams are directionless in a season which is over to the greater extent – certainly no one connected with BfB desired a trip to the South Coast for what was effectively a dead rubber and so no match report is offered for the game, although perhaps we can reflect on a truism of football: that games are must often won by the team that wants to win them the most.

Certainly when Brett Pitman put in his 41st minute goal at Dean Court and the Bantams only riposte was a Gareth Evans ping off the bar then it became somewhat obvious that the Cherries were going to get the win because they put in the effort to do it. Which is not to accuse the Bantams of having put in a less than 100% effort just that time and time again effort is one thing, motivation another.

Recall, if you will, City’s trip to Wolverhampton on the last day of the 1999 season. Had that game occurred in the meat of the season then few would have expected that even in those glorious 9 months we would have secured a win – a similar success at Portsmouth was considered one of the outstanding results of the year – but because the Bantams needed to win, we did.

Likewise when City played Portsmouth in the previous season in a game Pompey needed to win of avoid relegation which would eventually befall Manchester City so the South Coast side were victors. Bradford City beat promotion chasing Charlton and QPR in the last four days of the season ending May 1997 seemed a remote possibility but happened.

The team that needs to win most often wins and so it was yesterday. Tomorrow the Bantams entertain Macclesfield Town – a club who saw their season horribly interrupted by the death of manager Keith Alexander – who sit below the Bantams in League Two. There is little requirement for either side to win the game with only lower mid-table positions to play for and so Peter Taylor is charged with trying to motivate a squad that has little to play for.

Little to play for a fewer players to play with. James Hanson and Ryan Kendall both limped away from Saturday’s trip to the South Coast and join Omar Daley and Michael Flynn as potential strikers all – prospectively – out of contention. The merits of paying Michael Boulding and – especially – Peter Thorne to stay at home comes into sharp focus if Gavin Grant – a player who is not paid at all – is to start up front for City.

Playing against his former club Gareth Evans should also take a forward role assuming these injuries continue with Leon Osborne – or perhaps Luke Sharry – taking the right hand side. Lee Bullock and Adam Bolder play central, Luke O’Brien left.

Zesh Rehman got a plus point on Saturday with an off the line clearance and continues at right back in the absence of Simon Ramsden with Luke Oliver and Steve Williams in the middle and Robbie Threlfall at left back. Matt Glennon in goal.