Bradford City v Crawley Town: Welcome sleepless nights for Gary Bowyer

Kelvin Mellor: Expected to return.
Kelvin Mellor: Expected to return.
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Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer has admitted that the number of in-form Bantams players 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 this afternoon’s League Two encounter with Crawley Town through injury, yet Bowyer is still left with a real selection headache.

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

Now, with first-choice right-back Kelvin Mellor fit again and centre-back 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,” said Bowyer.

“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 to make an impact 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 today’s game third in the table and aware that three points could take them top 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.