BRADFORD CITY know all about the ‘new manager’ effect, it being less than three weeks since Peterborough United marked Graham Westley’s first game at the helm with a 2-0 triumph at Valley Parade.
Doncaster Rovers today being set to unveil Paul Dickov’s successor after a protracted search could, therefore, certainly be better timed from a Bantams perspective.
Whoever gets the nod – last night Darren Ferguson was being strongly backed – will be at the helm tomorrow when Phil Parkinson’s men head to the Keepmoat Stadium.
“A new manager usually gives teams a lift,” said City midfielder Gary Liddle to The Yorkshire Post ahead of the derby clash. “I have played for teams with a new manager at the helm and it does raise things.
“The players can be vying for a place with the new manager, wanting to stay not just in the squad but also the team. All the (Doncaster) players will be desperate to impress and that can make it harder.
“But they haven’t had the start they wanted. So, we need to capitalise on that.”
City won their last league outing at Rochdale, a little under a fortnight ago. The blank weekend since then was down to Rory McArdle becoming the club’s third senior player to be called up for international duty, triggering the postponement of the home clash against Blackpool.
McArdle returned to the side knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy by Barnsley in midweek, while James Meredith, fresh from joining up with Australia, is set to replace Greg Leigh against Rovers.
Loanees Lee Evans and Reece Burke have also been away on international duty with the Wales and England Under-21s respectively in a further nod to the quality that can be found in Parkinson’s squad even though City are currently languishing in the bottom half of the table.
“They had their own little international corner to themselves in the dressing room,” laughed Liddle when asked about McArdle and Meredith’s return to the club.
“We weren’t allowed to step into it! No, seriously, we were all delighted for them. It is great for Bradford City to have international players.”
Without a game last weekend due to the Blackpool game being off, City fell a couple of places in the League One table to 18th. For a club fancying their chances of challenging this term, it represents a disappointing start.
“We believe we can still challenge but we have to get started soon,” said Liddle.
“Not so long ago, we had a couple of wins in a row and it did our league position the world of good.
“You don’t see many teams win four or five in a row very often in this league. So, if we could do that then we can charge up the league. I do believe we have the quality, we just need some consistency.
“It wasn’t great to see us go down a couple of places. I am the sort who is constantly looking at my Sky Sports App to see what the table is looking like.
“That can be a little bit disheartening but we know that we have a game in hand on most clubs now and we have to take advantage when it comes round.
“If we win that, we will go up quite a few places if in the middle of a good run. That is why Rochdale was a big win for everyone. We’d lost a couple of games in the build-up, which no-one likes. It probably turned out to be even more important because of the Blackpool postponement.”