In my opinion our match on Saturday away at Wigan represents our biggest challenge and game of the season so far. When I asked some of our fans over Twitter whether they thought it was our biggest of the season, out of the 207 voters 75% agreed with me. An overwhelming majority.
Looking at the League One form table we currently sit in third position over our last ten matches both home and away. Sitting on top come our Yorkshire rivals Barnsley whom have been flying of late and the team sitting in second between us, Wigan. Both ourselves and the Latics have accumulated 20 points over our last ten matches but in different manners. Whilst we struggled in our loses against Barnsley and lowly Colchester, the Lancashire club are unbeaten in their previous 15 league encounters dating back until the week before Christmas, a tough ask then if we are to get something at the DW Stadium come Saturday afternoon. Despite this though, the Latics have failed to win in their last three and have Will Grigg to thank for extending their unbeaten run thanks to his 90th minute strike which salvaged a point in last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Colchester.
It’s no secret now that at the moment we are playing our best football of the season. Although the team was playing well before hand, in the strangest of ways our loss to Colchester was a significant one because since that fixture we’ve played some very impressive football culminating in what many thought was our easiest win of the season at home to Doncaster last weekend. You could say that our loss against the bottom club was a true ‘kick up the backside’. Winning six, drawing two and losing two in our last ten, we’re one of the divisions form sides as previously mentioned. Every player is performing right now and there’s now no reason as to why we can’t extend our run and take something from Wigan this weekend. It’s worth mentioning too that we are the sixth best travelling side in League One this term, winning on seven occasions and drawing five times on our away days.
Back in late October we played out a 1-1 draw at Valley Parade when Wigan were the visitors. For me Wigan are the best side I’ve seen in action this season so far. The majority of their players look very comfortable on the ball and in their squad they have some very talented players, Michael Jacobs the scorer against us that day with a fabulous strike been one of them. Wigan Athletic also further strengthened during the January transfer window bringing in Ryan Colclough from Crewe who can finish well and adding former Chesterfield captain Sam Morsy to their ranks. The strength of their squad is evident in the results they have achieved this term. Wigan have won eight times by one goal, five times by two goals, three times by three goals and once by 5-0 and have only lost five times in 36 matches, remarkably only losing twice since the 19th September. Before the start of the season Wigan were touted as the title favourites and look on course to finish in an automatic promotion place at the least so any result away at the DW stadium would be fantastic this coming Saturday.
With the recent positive change in form for the Bantams Phil Parkinson is starting to suffer from a selection headache, especially upfront. For the last couple of games Jaime Proctor and Billy Clarke have been partnered upfront and have delivered the goods but this Saturday could potentially see a shift of personnel as both James Hanson and Wes Thomas are expected to return from injury. Personally I would stick with the same starting XI as our two previous games because we’ve played some of our best football with that team. With a return in sight for long term absentees Paul Anderson, who played 60 minutes for the reserves this week, and Filipe Morais and rumours of another loan signing on the horizon, our squad is going from strength to strength and has to be considered one of the strongest in the league.
In our remaining fixtures we still have to play Walsall and Millwall at home and Wigan and Coventry away from home and due to that the one thing we do know is that our position come the end of the season is completely in our own hands. Any form of result away at Wigan on Saturday coupled with the same at home to Millwall the following weekend then would really start to cement our place among the play-off contenders and could even push us towards the top two.
With another huge following away from home with over 3,500 Bantams expected to travel to Wigan and with the fond memories of our Capital One cup win on penalties the last time we visited the DW Stadium, there’s no reason why we can’t get a result come Saturday afternoon.
BRING OUT THE BANTAMS!!!