Inking In

Farsley Celtic are the success story of West Yorkshire football. Standing in their cobbled together ground seeing a club punching over its weight going for it against a twenty-two man Bradford City team one cannot helped but be impressed with what is going on at City’s new nearest neighbour. If Bradford City or Leeds United punched this high then Championships would be won.

Farsley mean business and were in race trim. Gareth Grant had something to prove against City and roasted Luke O’Brien at left back and City’s first half middle which included Everton trialist Scott Phelan whent from control of the game to a worrying back foot. Simon Johnson up front was fed by Joe Colbeck and slid over a ball for Peter Thorne to get a debut equaliser but Damien Dunne gave the home side a decisive lead.

Four days later and Colbeck – persistant target of both critisism and plaudit even amoust the thousand who travel to pre-season – impressed in a 2-0 win over North Ferriby United ripping into the home side’s full back and firing over a string of excellent crosses. Joe Colbeck with end product is almost everything. The rest comes from Peter Thorne and Barry Conlon who both look like the burley sort of striker that City will need in League Two. Thorne got his second – adding to an opener by Omar Daley – and City had both good win and good workout.

Wins and workouts aside the modern friendly is about squad shaping. Conlon and Thorne are Bantams and they will surely be joined soon by a return of Paul Evans who slotted back into Bradford City colours aptly. Evans taking a free kick blasted at goal is a sight one thought one would never see again and one is so glad that the midfield engine seems set to return.

Joining City seem to be Nathan Joynes and Thomas Harban on long-term loans from Barnsley. Harban looks an interesting player with decent ball skills. Joynes – a forward – is superb until the finish which “lacks polish” to say the least. Simon Johnson moves on to Hereford having not impressed McCall. Joynes seems to offer the same. One wonders if the fear of a two year contract should City win promotion is behind that one.

Former Hartlepool United and Sunderland right back Darren Williams has been offered a contract. He is not Darren Holloway. Repeat it softly to yourself before you go to sleep dear reader.

Kyle Nix is to be told on Monday what his future is. It is six to half a dozen if he will stay. McCall seems to want Scott Phelan and Phelan – a full back at Goodison moving into midfield – looks worth a punt. As with Nix he finds out today as McCall – two wins and a defeat into his City career – inks in names to his team sheet.

The No News Cycle

Stuart McCall must have spend a longer time behind a desk this month than he has in the rest of his career as he starts putting together the process that will see him put together a squad. When David Wetherall took over as City boss he had to sit out a few games to cope with the change. McCall – a fine coach by his Blades reputation – will be getting used to the soft leather of the Valley Parade big chair.

Perception of the job of football recruitment is different from the reality. McCall goes through targets sent to him from all over Europe on DVDs and through website links which here at BfB we are often mistakenly presented with. No one ever says on their CV that they slack off after seventy minutes and everyone looks sublime.

Wheat is split from chaff. Two 21 year old Barnsley youngsters called Thomas Harban and Nathan Joynes are coming to City on trail with a view to a loan – the Mark Lawn cash is not to be splashed as much as one might have thought. City have made an offer for Scunthorpe’s left back Lee Ridley and go head to head with Cheltenham for the player.

For that there is good reason. An old anecdote about a former team mate of McCall has the player asking for a free transfer in March and his boss agreeing the he could go in the Summer but that they would list him at deadline day only to get a £250,000 offer “and not a penny more even though you could get it”. The footballer’s value is tied into unfathomable and many a manager has frittered away a fortune on players who offered no better than those available for next to nothing.

Next to nothing seeps out of Valley Parade and season ticket sales continue. This is the calm. The storm brews.