VARIETY is the spice of footballing life, as far as Bradford City manager Stuart McCall is concerned.
The state of the Valley Parade pitch is a topic for debate and the Bantams’ chief is the first to admit that the surface is not the most conducive to the free-flowing, on-the-deck football that he generally espouses.
But, equally, he believes that his players must possess the mentality, intelligence and technical craft to adapt, which, in fairness, he felt that they did in Tuesday night’s 2-2 draw against MK Dons.
Another home encounter, this time against Peterborough, sees the difficult home surface come under the spotlight again for the fifth-placed Bantams, who have drawn 12 of their 18 home games this term.
McCall will not be caught using the pitch as an excuse and neither should his players, he believes.
McCall, conscious that his side can ill-afford to be pigeon-holed as a side with a one-dimensional style of play if they are to reach their season’s goals, said: “We have said that all season and we cannot be a one-trick pony.
“Yes, we get it down the sides, but we will go route one and over the top at times.
“Whatever it is, you have got to have a variety. You have to be more flexible as a manager these days.
“People think, ‘this is the way to play and the way we will always play’. But I think that is in the dark ages and you have got to be able to adapt to systems and rotate formations.”
Specifically on the pitch, he added: “By no means is ours the worst (pitch) in the league. There are a lot worse playing surfaces than ours.
“But it does have an impact on our creative players, of which we have got a lot, people who like to travel with the ball and play quick, passing football.
“It does become a struggle, but I thought we did well in phases the other night.
“There were times when we tried to play through and it was bobbling and we were losing possession. We have got to adapt, both individually and collectively as a group.”