Bradford City pointing the way forward

BRADFORD CITY may have ended last season boasting the only unbeaten home record in the Football League but there was still an air of '˜what if?' surrounding the Bantams.

On target: Bradford City scorer Paul Taylor.
On target: Bradford City scorer Paul Taylor.

A dozen draws at Valley Parade, three more than any other League One club managed on home soil in 2016-17, were the reason so it was perhaps understandable that there should be some chuntering among supporters at Tuesday night’s stalemate against Oldham Athletic.

The Latics being in the lower echelons of the table led to much of the discord, even if this totally ignored both the impressive performance of Richie Wellens’s side on the night and the fact the Lancashire club had won their previous four games.

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In fact, former Doncaster Rovers star Wellens was yesterday installed as the club’s 25th full-time manager in 23 years.

Adam Thompson, making his first Bradford start since joining on loan from Bury in the summer, understood the frustration at two points being dropped on home soil.

But the City defender added: “Oldham are a good team and completely different to what Oldham were like at the start of the season.

“They are in a false position, having won their last four before facing us. Oldham are a team in form and different to what Oldham have been like in previous seasons, which is credit to their manager.

“Maybe we will look back in a month’s time and see this as a good point, with Oldham in a much better position by then.

“That said, we were disappointed because we didn’t play particularly badly. For the fans, I am sure it was an eventful game to watch. We move on to Saturday and try to get the three points.”

Charlton Athletic are the visitors to Valley Parade this weekend and Thompson, introduced as part of a reshuffle by Stuart McCall to guard against tired legs, is hoping to retain his place after being brought in for Matthew Kilgallon.

“I have had to be patient,” said the 25-year-old. “I am not deluded and like to think I am quite level-headed. I can see what is going on and the defence had been doing really well.

“I had no right to say: ‘I want to start’. Obviously, I got my chance against Oldham and worked hard for the team. We limited their chances and, hopefully, I can get more games soon and do my bit for the team.”

As for City, who remained third in the wake of the stalemate, Thompson added: “We are up there, which is where we want to be. Maybe we can close that gap on the top two, that is our target.

“But we reacted well to losing on Saturday (at Bury) and now we need another reaction on Saturday against another team up near us. There were a lot of draws in League One on Tuesday so we didn’t lose much ground. That is good for us.”

The draw with Oldham was an entertaining affair, particularly in the first half as both sides made clear their intentions to go for all three points.

As a consequence, both defences were busy as Paul Taylor’s early strike was cancelled out by an assured finish from Eoin Doyle midway through the first half.

The quality and intensity dipped after half-time but there was still plenty to keep the crowd’s attention, including a late flurry of bookings by referee Christopher Sarginson following a melee.

Thompson added: “It was a bit of a frantic game, especially in the second half. Maybe their game-management was good, as they wanted to make niggly fouls and slow the game down a bit.

“Credit to them for that, as they probably got what they wanted. But I felt we kept pushing and had our chances.

“A few crosses flashed across goal and there were another couple of chances plus a header at the end. We just couldn’t get that finish but we go again this weekend.”