AFC Barrow v Bradford City: Mark Hughes gives his players a licence to thrill

Despite the frustrating nature of last week’s 0-0 draw with Doncaster Rovers, Mark Hughes is pleased by the timing of the lesson for his Bradford City side.

With 80 per cent possession and a man advantage for 45 minutes, the Bantams could not find a way past a resolute Rovers defence in their season opener at Valley Parade.

Hughes expects to face similar tactics on plenty of occasions this season, with teams opting to sit compact in the final third and feed off scraps at the other end of the pitch.

After watching his side muster 22 shots only to hit the target just twice at Valley Parade, Hughes has taken the opportunity ahead of today’s trip to Barrow to encourage his players to be more creative against teams out to make life difficult for his side going forward.

“We have trained really well. Last week it was about being unable to break a team down with a low block so we have done a little bit of that for future reference with teams who do that,” he said.

“We will have more strengths to our bow. It is about recognising the areas we can attack and exploiting the opposition.

“That is something we will continue to work on throughout the season. It has flagged up something we expect to face on a regular basis, if the events of the first game are anything to go by.

“We feel we need to work on the areas of the pitch we can exploit when teams come and make it difficult for us.

Levi Sutton and Bradford City need to find a way to break teams down. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

“There are ways around it, there are things we can do tactically and that we have the physicality and determination to get beyond people.

“On occasion we played it a little bit safe. At the top end of the pitch I will encourage the lads to have a go and be creative. That is the message we have been talking about.”

Mark Hughes, Bradford City manager (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)