Bradford City v Southend: Gilliead emerges from adversity with fresh perspective on his development

BRADFORD CITY loanee Alex Gilliead admits to having learned more from this season's loan spell at Valley Parade than being part of the side that reached Wembley last term.

Bradford City's Alex Gilliead. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)
Bradford City's Alex Gilliead. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

The Bantams endured a tough start to 2018 as 13 games yielded just five points. City have since rallied via an unbeaten four-game run but that earlier sequence all but ended any hopes of competing in the play-offs.

For Gilliead, on loan at Bradford for the second time in as many seasons, it has been a steep learning curve but also a beneficial one.

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“My loan spells have been pretty successful up to this season,” said the 22-year-old, who is out of contract at Newcastle United this summer.

“But I have probably learned more here this time.

“There is no hiding from the fact that every player has not been up to the standards of the start of the season. I would be lying if I said my confidence was not affected. Losing is not nice, especially the way we were losing.

“Certain games, you do go home and think, ‘Am I good enough?’ The key is not to get too high or too low.

“You get abuse off people, and people say stuff about you. They ask about your character. Mentally, that challenges you.

Alex Gilliead in action for Bradford against Shrewsbury Town

“It makes you think, ‘I am going to stand up and show them what I can do’. It helps you grow as a player and a person.

“When you lose games, there will always be people who think, ‘He didn’t do that or he is not good enough’ You just have to have the self-belief. All the lads know we are good players and that, when on it, we are a good team. As long as we believe that, no-one else can affect us.”

Alex Gilliead in action for Bradford against Shrewsbury Town