Bradford City hand Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars full-time managerial roles
The pair have been handed a contract until the end of next season having won seven of 11 games since stepping up from the club’s academy, losing only once.
The Bantams have a history of starting managerial careers but 29-year-old Sellars, son of former Leeds United winger Scott, is believed to be the youngest to take the job permanently, and becomes the Football League’s youngest permanent manager. Bradford-born Trueman is only four years older.
The appointment comes as little surprise given not only their record, but also the backing they were given in the January transfer window, when they were allowed to sign nine players and move six on.
“When we first came in, we were confident in our ability to express our coaching methods,” said Sellars. “Thankfully, the job we have done so far has been deemed good enough to warrant the permanent appointment.
“Every day, we just want to improve. We are looking forward to taking this club in the right direction as much as we can.”
The pair, who started working together with the Bantams’ under-18s in 2018-19, were promoted from caretaker to interim managers in late December, and nominated for the League Two manager of the month award in January.
City dipped into the League Two relegation zone the game before Stuart McCall was sacked, but Saturday’s 2-0 win at promotion-chasing Cheltenham Town put them 10th in League Two, seven points outside the play-off places with games in hand on all the top seven.
Trueman and Sellars have changed the team’s formation from three at the back to a 4-2-3-1, and players often speak of the attention to detail in their analysis work. Academy analyst Scott Dyer has also been permanently promoted to the first team having worked with them under the pair. Their work ethic has also been notable.
“We set standards at the start so if anything we want to improve on that, just like the players do,” explained Trueman recently. “We work long hours but it’s important our standards don’t drop so there’s no excuses.”
They have been appointed by the league’s youngest chief executive, Ryan Sparks, who took the job in November aged 29.
“Life is about opportunities, and I think it goes without saying they took theirs with both hands,” he said.
“They know more than anyone that the real challenges come now.
“We are fully confident they can continue to take us forward on the field, and they are living and breathing the culture we are working to create. They understand that mediocrity is something we will never again accept, and that every day we simply strive to move forward and achieve our goals.”
Trueman spent his entire playing career in Yorkshire non-league football as a midfielder, last turning out for Thackley in 2020. Before working as Bradford’s under-18 manager, he coached Halifax Town’s youngsters.
Leeds-born midfielder Sellars had spells in Middlesbrough and Rochdale’s academy but his first senior football came abroad, in lower-league Portuguese and Icelandic football either side of a spell with Hallam. The set-piece specialist also played for both Harrogate clubs, Worksop Town and Tadcaster Albion before retiring in May 2018 to concentrate on his burgeoning coaching career at Valley Parade.
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