Bradford City v Crawley Town: Selection headache is causing Gary Bowyer sleepless nights

Bradford City centre-half Ben Richards-Everton is available for selection again follow a three-match ban. Picture: Getty Images
Bradford City centre-half Ben Richards-Everton is available for selection again follow a three-match ban. Picture: Getty Images
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Bradford City boss Gary Bowyer has admitted that the number of in-form Bantams players currently vying for a place in his starting XI is causing him sleepless nights.

No fewer than six members of his first-team squad will miss Saturday's League Two clash with Crawley Town through injury, yet Bowyer is still left with a real selection headache.

Skipper James Vaughan only made the substitutes’ bench for last weekend’s win at Morecambe following his return from suspension.

And now, with first-choice right-back Kelvin Mellor fit again and centre-half Ben Richards-Everton back from a ban of his own, Bowyer has even more options at his disposal.

Factor in the impact of attacking duo Aramide Oteh and Shay McCartan, who are both pushing for starts following decisive contributions as substitutes in City’s previous two outings, and the dilemma facing the Bantams chief just grows.

“It’s something that will probably give me another sleepless night this week and I’ve got to make the decision,” Bowyer said.

“I’m not one who wouldn’t change a winning team if I thought it was the right thing to do.

“Kelvin is expected to return. Ben being available for us again is a boost for sure, and he certainly comes into contention.

“Since Ben got suspended the pair of them [Anthony and Paudie O’Connor] have done terrific for us and it’s a tough decision. But that’s why you recruit all these players and the quality of them, to make life difficult for myself but also to increase the competition within the squad.

“It’s been fantastic having somebody come off the bench is fantastic and that’s a credit to all the lads. They’re all part of the squad and they understand the importance of playing their part because they all will play their part this season.”

In-form City will kick-off Saturday's game third in the table and aware that three points could take them top of the pile on the back of five wins from their last seven league matches.

Ninth-placed Crawley were victorious in their previous outing, beating Colchester 2-1, though they went four games without success prior to that.