HAVING just enjoyed an unexpected chance to recharge the batteries following a hectic end to 2018, Bradford City manager David Hopkin believes the introduction of a winter break would benefit players and fans alike.
The Bantams head to Oakwell today for their first outing in 12 days, a 3-0 victory over Accrington Stanley having kicked the new year off in style at Valley Parade.
Following a run of 15 games in 52 days, Hopkin was grateful for the chance to not only rest tired limbs but also take stock of a squad that has this week lost Kai Bruenker and Jim O’Brien but gained Leeds United defender Paudie O’Connor.
“I was always used to playing through in my career,” said the former Scottish international when asked about City’s impromptu break. “Some liked that and others didn’t.
“But, personally, sometimes a break can be good at this time of year. December is so busy and a lot is asked of the players. I often feel fans are being asked to watch games at this time of year that are not necessarily of the highest quality.
“The players have played a lot of football and it can show. It can be more a mental challenge than anything else. So, better to recharge the batteries for a week or whatever and then go again.
The players have played a lot of football and it can show. It can be more a mental challenge than anything else. So, better to recharge the batteries for a week or whatever and then go again.Bradford City boss, David Hopkin
“We gave the players a couple of days off at the start. We stressed the need to relax, we didn’t want them tearing all over the place. They were all professional about that.
“The body fat tests on their return showed everyone was in good shape. Same when we weighed them all.”
City sit just above the relegation zone, having taken 13 points from a possible 18 since starting December at the foot of the League One table.
“Credit to the players for the run we have been on,” added Hopkin, who continues to monitor the January transfer market. “They kept going, even though when we won a game it seemed everyone else down there seemed to do the same.
“We had a great December but nothing has been achieved yet. Stay focused, that is the message.”