After another fantastic and comfortable win for the Bantams on Tuesday night at home to Southend United, we now have the chance to make it three wins out of three against a struggling Rochdale side on Saturday afternoon at Valley Parade.
During the last week the mood surrounding the club and Valley Parade has drastically changed. The calls for Parky out from those few idiots just a week ago seem just a distant memory now as the team has really started to click and perform to the best of its ability. The last two games, wins against Peterborough and Southend, have also been complimented with probably the best two performances so far for the Bantams this season and it’s evident that Phil Parkinsons men have somewhat turned a corner after the negative results during the Christmas period. Scoring six times in two matches whilst keeping two clean sheets, one without McArdle, is a great achievement for this team and everyone can admit that it has come as a bit of surprise considering how the team were playing beforehand.
For me it’s evident that Parkinson has decided to play a more attacking style of play of late. The signing of Josh Cullen on loan looks a real coup even this early on in his Bradford career as he offers the team that bit more creativity in the centre of the park and has the ability to both get forward but also help Lee Evans out with the defensive duties. Lee Evans in himself is the sort of central midfielder that likes to get forward when possible and likes to play that killer pass to the forwards and wingers. Let’s just say a central midfield pairing of Evans and Cullen is a lot more exciting than one of McMahon and Routis.
Rochdale are struggling at the wrong end of the League One table. Winning just one match out of their last six, Dale have recently lost to Millwall but also to other poorer teams such as Chesterfield and Crewe. Barnsley caned them 6-1 not too long ago as well. As always though all opponents in League One present their dangers and despite recent poor form, the Lancashire side beat Burton 2-1 only a few weeks back. Keith Hill has players that can cause damage and in Donal McDermott and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing he possesses two pacey, tricky wingers. Main striker Iain Henderson has 11 goals this season in the league whilst Peter Vincenti is one to watch in midfield.
Ahead of the match on Saturday, Rochdale have brought back experienced former striker Grant Holt on a contract until the end of the season. Making a total of 445 football league appearances so far in his career, the striker has netted on 152 occasions including scoring 34 times for Rochdale in 75 appearances. Grant Holt has previous Premier League and Championship experience and is a very good signing for the struggling outfit of Rochdale.
It’s nice to see some confidence in the Bantams for once though. Putting this stretch of matches into perspective, if offered nine points before the last four games I’d have snapped someone’s hand off for that considering the teams we have played. If we keep winning which we should in our next couple of games with how the team is playing and considering the teams we are facing, we should have a place in the play-off picture come mid-March.