Bradford City season preview: Title favourites, new tactics and scintillating football
After a up and down season last year, Bradford City are tipped as favourites by many to get promoted, either by winning League 2 or through promotion places.
There seems to be some stability at the club, after sacking Stuart McCall last season after a series of lacklustre results and performances. Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars then took over for the remainder of the season on an interim basis, their appointment sparking some impressive results and performances from the Bantams. However, as the season drew to a close Bradford lost out on playoff places and finished in the bottom half of the table.
In preparation for season they appointed former Morecambe boss, Derek Adams. He led the Imps to promotion to the third tier for the first time in their history, so he knows a thing or two about leading clubs to promotion. Derek Adams has been renowned for his defensive minded style of play, so many assumed that was how Bradford City would be setting up for the season ahead. His defensive style of play has been known to let his teams attack suffer. However, pre-season has shown a different style to the one he is so known for. They’ve scored goals for fun and have played football that fans have enjoyed watching. In the words of Derek Adams himself, they’ve played ‘scintillating football’. They’ve beaten difficult opposition, such as Accrington Stanley, who play in the league above, and Blackburn Rovers, who play two leagues above.
They’ve had a busy transfer window and haven’t spent a penny. They signed both Abo Eisa and Alex Gilliead from Scunthorpe on frees. Yann Songo’o signed from Morecambe to join his former gaffer at his new club. Lee Angol signed from Leyton Orient, Fiacre Kelleher from Wrexham, Coalan Lavery signed from Walsall, Liam Ridehalgh from Tranmere and Oskar Threkheld from Salford. One notable, important signing was Andy Cook who signed a permanent deal after his impressive performances on loan last season. Not only have Bradford City not spent a penny, but they’ve weakened plenty of their rivals in the process. They’ve been smart about their business, with most of the contracts only being one or two years long.
Not only have they been busy bringing players in, they’ve also been busy offloading players. Notably Clayton Donaldson, Lee Novak, Anthony O’Connor, Connor Wood and Billy Clarke have all left. However, they have kept some important players such as Paudie O’Connor and Niall Canavan, two defenders who are crucial to them.
Many fans believe that Bradford City have not concluded their business in the window just yet, as they only have 3 senior centre-halves, 5 if you include youngsters Reece Staunton and Jorge Sikora. Ideally, another defender would be brought in to solidify the defensive unit in case of injuries or a clogged fixture list which would cause players to be rested. The squad is more than adequate, but two more signings would be ideal.
In terms of a star player, keep your eyes peeled for Andy Cook and Callum Cook. Andy Cook is 5th on the odds for highest goal-scorer and was impressive when played for the Bantams last season. However, Callum Cook seems to be the cog that keeps the team ticking. Everything runs through him, many consider him to be their standout best player.
Bradford City begin their season on Saturday, playing away against Exeter.