Bradford City v Accrington Stanley: Graham Alexander on why a dead rubber in the EFL Trophy was important for Bantams
Barnsley were certainly – and from their perspective quite rightly – trying hard to downplay the significance of their 5-1 defeat in midweek. But for Bradford City, a win is a win – and Tuesday’s was an important one ahead of Saturday's League Two visit from Accrington Stanley.
It was important because of the scale of it, it was important because of the performance levels, it was important because it built faith in the 3-5-2 formation the Bantams looked much more effective in when they switched to it 4-0 down at Notts County a week ago, and it was important as a reaction to that chastening televised defeat at Meadow Lane, which finished 4-2.
But most of all it was important because it was Graham Alexander's first as Bradford manager. Even a boss as experienced as the former Scotland international needs that first endorsement in his methods, amongst fans and players alike.
But its importance will be greatly diminished if it is not built on quickly.
“We have to look at Tuesday as a building block,” argued Alexander.
“You have to take games forward, and if they are positive results, then you have to maintain the good elements.
“When I watched it back, I was as impressed as I was when watching it live.
“Taking out the emotion of wanting to win the match, I was blown away by our pressing and our movement, and hopefully we can replicate that.
“We have to feed back to the players on how to improve and progress as a group.
“We enjoyed the win on Tuesday and I allowed them to enjoy the moment of beating a team resoundingly but I will give the boys reminders of how they played and how we can add to that.
“We were excellent. We started the game in a fine manner, and we were still pressing and pushing Barnsley when we were 5-1 up.
“We had a lot of quality, even with a few different players in the line-up. We looked unbeatable all night, and that is something to harness going into the next few games.”
City will again be without loanee Daniel Oyegoke, whose time at Valley Parade may not extend beyond the nine starts he made under Mark Hughes and Kevin McDonald.
"Daniel has had to have surgery on his shoulder and it looks like he'll be out for a while," said Alexander. "He won't be available to us and we need to have the conversation with Brentford about his wider future."