ANDREW DAVIES has pinpointed the exact place where Bradford City can find the inspiration to achieve their Championship mission in 2013-14: 273 miles away to the south-west.
The location is the Somerset town of Yeovil, whose football team were promoted to the second tier for the first time in their 118-year-history in May despite having the lowest budget in League One last term.
A rendition of The Impossible Dream was aired before the Glovers’ first home game of the campaign last month and while City astonished everyone last season by reaching the Capital One Cup final at Wembley, their avowed aim is to make it back to the Premier League.
Promotion back to League One via the Wembley play-off final last season got them underway, with the Championship – seen by many as City’s natural abode – the next step.
As beginnings to league seasons go, seventh-placed Bradford’s has been steady and key central defender Davies, whose signing of a new two-year deal was arguably manager Phil Parkinson’s best piece of close-season business, sees no reason why they might not finish in the play-off pack as Yeovil did last season.
Davies, who will line-up in the heart of the back four for today’s home game against fourth-placed Brentford, whom Yeovil beat in last season’s play-off final, said: “We aren’t getting too far ahead of ourselves.
“But we look at what Yeovil have done and, no disrespect to them, you look at their team and ours – which has good players who have played in the Premier League and the Championship – and you kind of think to yourself, ‘Well, if they can do it, hopefully we can’.
“I know there’s maybe a few bigger clubs now (in the division). But I think we are looking at the play-offs this time; it’s not out of our reach. And you never know, if we add a couple more players, that will only make us stronger.”
At 28, Davies is in the prime of his career and happy to lay long-term roots in West Yorkshire after lodging with a host of clubs – nine in total – at various stages of his nomadic career.
Continuity has brought the best out of the former Stoke and Middlesbrough defender, who played for six different sides on loan during an injury-jinxed stint with the Potters from 2008-2012 and admits he is now enjoying the happiest time of his career.
More especially under a manager who has no shades of grey, just as he showed on Tuesday when he deemed his side’s 5-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit at Hartlepool as unacceptable, with several regulars rested expected to return this afternoon, including Davies.
He said: “When I was at Stoke, I was getting loaned out here, there and everywhere and, coming back from injury, I wasn’t fully fit. It was frustrating not being able to perform at my best.
“But I have found a club now where I have played 60 or 70 games and am starting to find my feet. Being fully-fit, I am showing what I can do.
“It’s probably the happiest I have been in my career.
“Being at Middlesbrough, my home-town club, for 10 years was a big thing for me. But I was a young boy growing up and still realising what the game was all about. With us being a team then who were buying massive players, I was always in and out and couldn’t get a run of games and it was very frustrating.
“Playing week-in, week-out for a manager who really likes me is why I am happy now.
“He’s really honest. I have come across managers in the past whom I haven’t quite figured out or known what they are thinking. If you play well here, he will tell you, and if you play rubbish, he will also let you know.
“He tells you how it is and if you speak to a lot of pros, they will say that is all you ever want.”
Bantams striker Nahki Wells is the League One’s Player of the Month for August. Huddersfield striker James Vaughan took the Championship award and Chesterfield’s Gary Roberts claimed the League Two prize.
Last six games: Bradford LDWLWL; Brentford WDLWDW.
Last time: Bradford 1 Brentford 1; November 30, 2012; FA Cup.
Referee: A Haines (Tyne & Wear).