Bradford City v Portsmouth: Grayson set for '˜brutally honest' talks about Bantams' needs

BRADFORD CITY manager Simon Grayson has confirmed that he is expecting to hold talks with chairman Edin Rahic later this month regarding his future at the club.
Bradford City's manager Simon Grayson (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).Bradford City's manager Simon Grayson (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Bradford City's manager Simon Grayson (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

Grayson elected to sign an initial deal until the end of the season when he was handed the managerial reins in February with the former Huddersfield Town and Leeds United chief keen to focus on the immediate goal of play-off qualification before considering the longer-term picture.

With the top six now looking a major long shot for 13th-placed City – who are ten points behind sixth-placed Plymouth Argyle with a game in a hand – planning for the future is likely to be brought forward, with Grayson set to speak with Rahic over the next few weeks.

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The club’s playing budget for next season, along with training ground plans and proposals for a new drainage system to improve the weather-ravaged Valley Parade pitch – which led to a raft of postponements since the winter – are all topics that are likely to be discussed at length.

On what assurances he is likely to want before potentially committing to an extended deal, Grayson, whose side welcome Portsmouth this evening, said: “I am not going to say (anything) specific, but it is everything that can give us the best opportunity to try and get promotion to the Championship.

“All these things will be in a brutally honest conversation that I need to have with him (Rahic). Hopefully if we agree on a lot then it is going to make the decision a lot easier.

“In terms of my decision I have not been able to sit down with Edin over the last few weeks because he has been away on business and family matters.

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“I am sure in the next ten days, two weeks or so, we will sit down and discuss what is going to happen with the club in general.

“There are many, many things; not just my contract, but it is about budgets, the training ground, the pitch; there are so many things that will make up my decision whether I am going to stay or not.

“If the season was to finish tomorrow I know what players I want to bring to the club and who I would be letting go.”

Mid-table City’s competitive season may effectively be over, barring a highly improbable chain of events, but Grayson has fired a warning to any players who are under contract beyond this season who might be tempted to go through the motions.

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After castigating his players for their “pathetic and embarrassing” 5-0 defeat at Blackpool on April 7, Grayson got the stirring response, if not the result, he was after in last Thursday’s spirited televised stalemate with promotion-chasing Shrewsbury Town – and is demanding it be the template for the rest of the season.

And the City chief has a clear message to any underperforming players as he continues to assess who will be part of his plans next season, should he remain at the club beyond 2017-18.

“He said: “Nothing is set in stone. There are still players’ playing for their futures, whether under contract or not.

“Players might have three years left, but if they play poorly and show a bad attitude for the next six games, if I am here next season they will not be.

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“This is where the good players show what it means to them. They will still do it professionally and try to earn a contract or be part of the long-term future here.

“They also should realise who is sat in the stands watching them; agents, other managers, coaches.

“If somebody is going through the motions and is not being bothered, if a manager asks me about him, I will give an honest opinion. Some will be glowing references and some will be poor.

“The Shrewsbury game was quite easy because of the disappointment from last Saturday, in front of the Sky cameras and we were at home.

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“The true test now is to produce a similar performance against Portsmouth when the TV cameras are not there. Let us hope they have got the right mental attitude.”

One player who cannot be accused of not giving everything in his City career to date is German striker Kai Bruenker, whose home debut against Shrewsbury has provided him with a taste for more of the limelight after an enriching evening last week.

Bruenker, whose whole-hearted commitment was recognised by the home faithful when he came off late on, said: “The moment when you walk in the stadium and everyone are clapping their hands and singing for Bradford City, it was a really good feeling. I want a lot more of that.

“When you like something, you want more. It is my first (English) club, so it is special for me. I want to help my team and give everything for the club.”

Last six games: Bradford LLWLLD Portsmouth WWWWDD.

Referee: A Woolmer (Northants).

Last time: Bradford 0 Portsmouth 5; May 4, 2003; Division One.