Bradford City: Why Sam Hornby was delighted to see a crowd

PRIOR to Wednesday evening, you had to go back to July, 2019 for Bradford City goalkeeper Sam Hornby’s previous appearance in front of a five-figure crowd at Utilita Energy Stadium.

That came when he took the field in a prestigious pre-season friendly against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in a match played in aid of the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.

A full house of 24,343 supporters – the most since the stadium re-opened in 1986 – greeted players amid warm summer sunshine.

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A cold December night against Colchester was rather more contrasting, but more important in the grander scheme of things for Hornby.

Back in ther frame: Sam Hornby of Bradford City. Picture: Getty ImagesBack in ther frame: Sam Hornby of Bradford City. Picture: Getty Images
Back in ther frame: Sam Hornby of Bradford City. Picture: Getty Images

The former Port Vale custodian made his first league appearance under Derek Adams and performed creditably en route to a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw after being handed keeping duties with Richard O’Donnell dropping to the bench.

Hornby, whose previous league game was in May, said: “Liverpool in pre-season seems like many years ago.

“That was packed for a good cause. The day sticks in my head more because of what we were raising money for. It was a humbling experience to be involved in.

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“Obviously, Stephen (Darby) is a legend here at the club. There are pictures of him in the dressing room and sayings and quotes, which are there for motivation. It’s inspiring.”

On his latest appearance in front of a well-populated crowd, he added: “It was nice to be back out there in front of the fans at home in the league.

“You know the fans come out in numbers and we need to make it as intimidating as possible for the opposition. When they are defending the (Kop) end, the noise can put them on edge.”

Hornby is the first to admit that his promotion to the starting line-up ahead of O’Donnell was a surprise.

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He continued: “I would be lying if I said I saw it coming. I just kept my head down and have been working hard Monday to Friday.

“I kept a smile on my face in the building and have been positive all the time. You have got to bide your time and be patient as you never know when the chance will come.

“I respected Richard playing. I was backing him up and supporting him every day by being sharp and keeping him on his toes. It helps the club because then you have got two goalies fighting for one position and both doing well.”

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