Rubber Bantams

Stuart McCall started his bounce back strategy for Bradford City bringing in two muscle forwards to lead the line for the Bantams next season.

Peter Thorne and Barry Conlon signed – tellingly on one-year deals – with both laying claim to being cut from the cloth of Dean Windass, of Lee Mills or Bobby Campbell.

Much travelled Thorne, 34, joins after his wasted two years at Norwich City in which he only scored twice and tells the usual hard luck injury stories. McCall brings a fresh start to Bradford City and there is no reason why Peter Thorne cannot be a part of that. He once menaced a Valley Parade defence for Stoke City and used to notch thirty a season. Cardiff City once paid £1.8m for him. League Two gives him a chance to be a somebody again.

History will record Conlon as McCall’s first signing. He is 28 and joins from Mansfield and got 12 goals in this year last season. McCall will want a greater return and to provide it he needs to find ammunition for his new strike force. Tom Penford and Craig Bentham should be his first reserves but as McCall pulled on tracksuit for training yesterday his thoughts no doubt turned to his need of midfield men to augment if not replace that pairing. The romantic has both Penford and Bentham rising McCall like in the side and the former number four says

“With the lads here now, I know there is definitely enough quality and spirit having been in with them and hopefully in the weeks leading up to the season there will be more people coming in.”

Scott Phelan, former Everton central midfielder, looks likely to be one of them. Ben Rix is lining up. John Spicer of Burnley is a long way up a shortlist.

Things are starting.

Much of a Muchness as McCall Starts Signings Dash

Stuart McCall has missed out on the singing of Spencer Weir-Daley who joined Notts County – geographically closer to the former Nottingham Forest man’s home no doubt – as the Bantams starts to try assemble a squad.

Fast striker Weir-Daley showed some usefulness at City at the end of last season but his Issy Rankin-esque finishing suggests that City are not missing out on anything like a natural born footballer. Weir-Daley is typical of the players at this level.

In the Premiership the guy you think is garbage on TV is actually very good if not superb at everything. In The Championship the players are mostly very good but have a single flaw – age, a lack of pace, a bad first touch – that prevents them going to the top level. In League One most players are of the same ability level but some have one or two spikes of talent which single them out. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson was a great example of this type of player in that he could hit a ball and pass superbly but he was no one’s box to box tackling midfielder and ultimately he is revealed as having low limits.

In League Two those spikes are absent and most players are as good as the next man. Talent is less then organisation, spirit and determination. He who runs the team best wins and so Weir-Daley’s shoes will be filled by many, many potential signings.

The list grows longer on a daily basis. Pint sized midfielder John Spicer of Burnley is on McCall’s radar, Imre Deme from Ferencvaros has been offered and Simon Francis continues to be mentioned. McCall is unmoved saying

I’m not going to be rushed into bringing the wrong people in. I could go out today and bring six players in and three months down the line realise they are not the right ones.

McCall’s plans for bringing in players are in flux with one signing being robbed this week when his first team chances at his current club improved following a transfer request. It is frustrating but to give the Bantams an edge over rivals next season McCall knows he needs to shape a squad with the right attitude. Leon Osbourne’s Facebook dalliances this week show how easy it is for negativity to seep into a squad.

For all the legs of Weir-Daley McCall’s team needs players who will show the character needed for the fight ahead. The enduring image of Weir-Daley is his game against Leyton Orient and how after spurning first half chances – created by pace and skill – his head fell.

Continue looking.

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