Bradford City v Bristol Rovers: Bantams boss Stuart McCall spoilt for choice

Stuart McCall.
Stuart McCall.
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Stuart McCall is prepared for a “tricky” time in his managerial reign at Bradford City.

But that has nothing to do with the pressure to end a run of three successive League One draws when the Bantams host lowly Bristol Rovers today.

Instead, McCall has the luxury of a fit and healthy squad which means some players will be left sitting in the stands at Valley Parade come kick-off.

James Hanson was a substitute at Gillingham, and pushing for a recall, while defensive trio Rory McArdle, Nathan Clarke and Tony McMahon are all back training.

“For the first time since I’ve been here, not only are we going to disappoint people not in the side, but there’ll be a couple disappointed sitting in the stand,” said McCall.

“The hardest part for a manager is leaving people out of the 18 and I’ve not had that before. That’s when it starts becoming tricky.

“I’ve been really pleased with the level and quality of training this week. You only have to look at the striking department.

“On Monday, we had two together and they looked sharp. Tuesday was two different again and yesterday we tried another partnership.

“They all know they’ve got competition – and it’s not just the strikers. It’s the same in the wide areas, at full-back, centre-half, so it’s going to be a really tough choice.

“It’s a good dilemma to have and we might not get the starting XI right. It could be down to a couple of key substitutions.”

Today is the first home game in League One since they drew with Oldham 1-1 on August 27.

Away draws at Millwall and Gillingham followed, and today City face a Rovers team who have just one win to their name all season.

That was back on August 14 against Oxford United, and they currently sit in the bottom six.

Not that McCall is taking today’s opponents lightly.

The Scot said: “If anyone thinks this is going to be easy because they are in the lower part of the table, think again.

“But we’re at home and we’ll focus on our strengths and how we feel we can get on top of the opposition.

“We know we dropped points in the home games against Oldham and Port Vale after the way we performed.”