What a strange week and a half it has been for the Bantams. In a matter of three games we have gone from booing our team off the field after the Colchester match to being extremely happy following our best performance of the season and one of the best in recent times versus Burton. For Bantams fans though, this sort of thing is normal.
For years now we’ve been the strangest of teams, winning one week convincingly against a Premier League club in the cup just to spend the following Saturday watching on as we lose in the league to a much smaller team, its commonplace at Valley Parade and last week certainly proved it. The performance and result against Colchester last Tuesday was appalling, easily one of the worst displays I’ve seen in a long time from a City team however fast forward a week and quite literally everything has changed.
The performance against Burton on Tuesday night was second to none. Without Rory McArdle and James Hanson in the side for the first time in a competitive match since January 2013 and playing the top team in the division after our two previous games, I’m not ashamed to admit that I feared the worst before kick-off but how wrong I was. The team closed down Burton at every opportunity and left the Brewers with very few opportunities to get back into the game after our two first-half goals.
In complete contrast to the match against Colchester every single player on the pitch with a City shirt on was fantastic and to be honest, it was difficult to pick a clear man of the match. The two goalscorers Reid and Burke had arguably their best games of the season but my man of the match was Jamie Proctor who led the line superbly in Hanson’s absence. Ben Williams deserves credit to as he claimed his 17th clean sheet in his last 26 matches with a couple of big saves.
As for our opponents, Doncaster are currently struggling at the wrong end of the League One table. After another loss away at Scunthorpe in mid-week, their run of games without a win stretches to ten league matches and if Darren Ferguson had had longer at the South Yorkshire club surely he would be facing the sack thanks to the clubs current situation and position. One of the only bright spots for Donny this year has come in the form of Andy Williams who has netted on 14 occasions in all competitions this season but other than that, our opposition have really struggled of late.
This fixture takes on an extra bit of hostility in regards to a recent war of words between the two Yorkshire clubs regarding away ticket prices at Valley Parade on Saturday afternoon. When playing away at Doncaster back in October during our 1-0 win, travelling Bradford fans paid less to get into the Keepmoat Stadium due to an apparent ‘reciprocal’ deal that had been made between the two Yorkshire clubs. However, according to the Bradford board this deal was never finalised due to the fact that the Bantams felt slashed ticket prices would upset season ticket holders and lead to a future drop in season ticket sales. The official Bradford City twitter page posted: “to further clarify. There was never a reciprocal £15 deal with DRFC. This was communicated to them in writing at the time” which highlights an obvious problem from the Doncaster end of negotiations.
The only problem I had with the whole situation was with some of my fellow Bradford fans. I’m not going to name and shame but those who were so quick to jump to conclusions, calling the club a ‘disgrace’ and saying their handling of the situation was ‘disgusting’ was bang out of order. We support a club that are at the forefront of cheap season tickets and that’s something to be incredibly proud of and for those saying we will be charged more next season at Donny, that won’t happen and who knows we might not even be in the same division next season..
So another City win would likely finally take us back into the top six and the play-off places however we have to be wary of an out-of-form Doncaster as last Tuesday night’s match proved. To be in the position we are in after losing to Colchester and drawing against Bury shows just how close to thetop six we are as as things stand and to look even further up the table, we’re now only four points behind Gillingham in third. For me, the same XI should start on Saturday afternoon if possible although Kyel Reid is said to now be struggling through an illness similar to James Hanson’s.
Losing just once in seven matches whilst winning on four occasions, here’s to hoping for another Bantams victory come half five on Saturday evening.