Big changes required as D-day looms for Bradford City and Simon Grayson

SIMON GRAYSON expects his future as Bradford City manager to be resolved within the next 24 hours.

Bradford manager Simon Grayson: At the crossroads. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

After Bradford City brought the curtain down on their season with a battling draw at Scunthorpe United, the 48-year-old yesterday met joint-chairman Edin Rahic.

These talks followed another couple of meetings last week with both Rahic and co-owner Stefan Rupp.

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All manner of subjects are understood to have been discussed, ranging from next season’s likely budget and summer recruitment plans through to City’s training facilities and the need to strengthen the support staff for the playing squad.

With the noises coming out of Valley Parade suggesting the playing budget will be similar to this term, which former manager Stuart McCall believed to be mid-table at best, holding on to Grayson could be a tall order.

For his part, the Bradford chief was giving little away in the wake of Matthew Kilgallon’s fourth goal of the season earning a point against play-offs bound Scunthorpe United.

“It needs to be done early part of the week,” said Grayson when asked by The Yorkshire Post when supporters could expect news. “Monday or Tuesday, I would say.

“Then everyone can move forward, whether I am here or not. I saw Edin and Stefan on Wednesday and then we had a brief chat on Friday. We have had plenty of discussions over the last few weeks, it is not something that has just come to a head over the last few days.

“The talks have been about things that are needed for the club to move forward, whether I am here or not.

“If I am not here, then, hopefully, he takes on board the things that I think he needs to move and learn from.

“They have already said they need to learn from the mistakes they have made. That is not to say I won’t be here helping to implement the ideas that I have suggested already.”

Pressed on whether his mind was already made up, Grayson added: “A little bit of both. I have been focusing on the games but I have got a rough idea of what I am going to do.

“After sitting down with Edin to discuss some bits and bobs, I will decide 100 per cent from there.”

Regardless of whether he stays or goes, Grayson expects the club to delay publishing their retained list until after Friday’s anniversary of the 1985 fire disaster that claimed 56 lives.

Just four of the starting XI at Scunthorpe are contracted for next season.

“We have got the memorial service on Friday and the majority of the players will be there,” added Grayson, who turned down jobs at MK Dons and Oxford to take charge of City.

“It would be a bit unfair to announce the retained list of players who are not going to be here next year and then expect them to attend.”

As for the summer and what Bradford must do to become genuine promotion challengers next term, Grayson said: “There needs to be a big turnaround with the squad.

“A lot of other things need to be done behind the scenes as well. You have to focus on the main things that a football club needs – and that is the first team.”

If Saturday is to be Grayson’s last game at the helm, City at least signed off with the type of battling display that was all too rare during the post festive season slump that dashed any hopes of a third tilt at the play-offs in three years.

After a first half that was as flat as Scunthorpe’s home county of Lincolnshire, the visitors went ahead through someone who was still able to hold his head high even when the team was giving every indication of having downed tools.

Kilgallon, who swept the board at last Wednesday’s ‘Player of the Year’ awards, met Tony McMahon’s corner with a looping header that gave Matt Gilks in the home goal no chance.

Eleven minutes of the second half had elapsed when City broke the deadlock but the game was level again by the hour mark thanks to a smart finish from Conor Townsend at the second time of asking.

Charlie Wyke then struck the crossbar in the closing stages, just as Josh Morris had done for Scunthorpe in the first half.

But there was to be no winner for either side, leaving the travelling Bantams contingent to entertain themselves as the curtain came down on another season with a conga featuring several fans dressed as fish fingers and another as Captain Birdseye.

Just who will be steering the good ship Bradford City come August remains to be seen. But, regardless of whether Grayson stays or not, a big summer awaits at Valley Parade.

Scunthorpe United: Gilks; Vermijl (Sutton 85), McArdle, Burgess, Townsend; Adelakun (Lewis 72), Yates, Bishop, Morris; McGeehan (Hopper 58), Novak. Unused substitutes: Watson, Crofts, Lewis, Goode, Butroid.

Bradford City: Doyle; McMahon, Knight-Percival, Kilgallon, Warnock (Staunton 86); Gilliead (Hawkes 62), Lund, Dieng, Gibson (Patrick 75); McCartan; Wyke. Unused substitutes: Raeder, Chicksen, Vincelot, Poleon.

Referee: J Brookes (Melton Mowbray).