Bradford City: Mansfield, not Manchester United, but Mark Hughes excited to be back in dug-out

MARK HUGHES’S last match in charge of a club came when he led Southampton against his former side Manchester United in front of a crowd of 30,000 at St Mary’s in December 2018.

Bradford City's new manager Mark Hughes. Picture: James Hardisty
Bradford City's new manager Mark Hughes. Picture: James Hardisty

The attendance will be a fair few less at the Utilita Energy Stadium today when he returns to the dug-out for his Bradford City bow against Mansfield Town.

It is the first game he has ever managed outside of the Premier League. His playing experience away from the top-flight in England also only extended to a brief spell in the second-tier with Blackburn Rovers in 2000-01.

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But when he steps out for today’s League Two fixture, there will be a genuine sense of expectation in the 58-year-old.

Hughes, who has brought in ex-Wales team-mate Glyn Hodges as his assistant, said: “I’ll have the same excitement as back then, absolutely.

“I’ve mentioned to the guys that as a player and a manager, the week building up to a game is good in being on the grass and organising things. But the best thing is the match itself.

“It’s turning up there, seeing the crowd build and it’s the thing I miss the most, without a shadow of a doubt.

“Expectations can sometimes hinder players, but it’s never been the case with me; the bigger the game, the better I perform.

“That was the case as a player and on occasions as a manager. Bigger crowds, bigger expectations. If we can get this place going, then it’s going to be a great atmosphere.”