Bantams seeking to solve Valley Parade problem

THREE straight defeats at home and a trio of consecutive wins on the road, in the process shattering the long unbeaten runs of League One's top two.
Charlie Wyke.Charlie Wyke.
Charlie Wyke.

It has been a strange old six weeks for Bradford City, who thanks to those away wins at Wigan Athletic, Shrewsbury Town and Portsmouth are handily placed in fourth as manager Stuart McCall’s men look to make it third time lucky in their assault on promotion to the Championship.

Not least because until the recent flurry of losses in front of their home fans that began with Fleetwood Town’s 3-0 triumph in late September, Valley Parade had become something of a fortress.

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Thirty one games came and went in the regular season with the visiting side leaving either empty handed or with just a point in a run that stretched back to March, 2016.

Millwall may have also left with a precious 3-1 first leg lead in the play-off semi-finals under Phil Parkinson but there can be little doubt that Bradford had become a place opposition teams had begun to fear until Blackburn Rovers shattered that unbeaten record on the third weekend of the campaign.

Now, things have changed with Plymouth Argyle, tomorrow’s visitors in the FA Cup, having beaten the Bantams on their own patch less than three weeks ago.

“Our home form has been really good for most of my time here,” said Charlie Wyke, the striker who joined City in a £250,000 deal from Carlisle United last January.

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“The defeats have been disappointing and we need to put it right in our next match. Plymouth (in the league) was such a strange game.

“They put everyone behind the ball and that can be really tough to break down.

“You get past one player but then there is another waiting,” he added.

“It is better when we play teams like us, teams who want to score goals and win games. But we have to learn how to deal with teams who come to pack defence.”

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City last night discovered their second round opponents in the Checkatrade Trophy after Chesterfield edged out Manchester City Under-23s 4-3 on penalties, after the game ended 2-2. McCall’s side will face Oldham on Tuesday December 5.