Dickson ready and waiting for ‘one in a million’ chance

With a little over two weeks to go before Bradford City walk out at Wembley ahead of the club’s first appearance in a League Cup final, the excitement is building. Richard Sutcliffe reports.

Ryan Dickson with team mate Garry Thompson

WEMBLEY, it is fair to say, is dominating minds at Bradford City right now.

The chants of ‘que sera sera’ that began half-an-hour before last weekend’s draw at Fleetwood Town and continued pretty much throughout the game were evidence of that.

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As was the speed at which supporters have been snapping up tickets for the February 24 final against Swansea City with almost 30,000 shifted to season-ticket holders to ensure that the bare minimum will be available when they go on general sale next week.

For the players, however, the focus remains very much on the push for promotion with two more games to be played before their thoughts can turn to Bradford’s biggest day out in more than a century.

“For a League Two team to get to the Capital One Cup final is just outstanding,” loanee Ryan Dickson told the Yorkshire Post ahead of tomorrow’s visit of high-flying Gillingham to Valley Parade.

“To play at Wembley, you are lucky if it happens once in your career. But that is not our next game. The date is set for Wembley so all we can do is push on in the league.

“We have so much to play for, starting with Gillingham this weekend. The draw at Fleetwood will suddenly become a good point if we back it up with a win this weekend.

“I have only been here a few weeks, but can already see the positive attitude that exists around the dressing room and everyone believes we can push on and get back up that table.”

Dickson, who has two promotions on his CV already with Brentford and Southampton, could, of course, be parachuted into the Wembley team with a couple of strong performances against Gillingham and AFC Wimbledon.

Rory McArdle’s ankle injury and the fitness of Andrew Davies, who is almost ready to return after more than three months out, will go a long way towards deciding whether Dickson’s switch last month from St Mary’s turns into a true fairytale by yielding a Wembley appearance despite not having featured in any of City’s previous seven ties.

The man himself admits it would be a “one in a million” turn of events, but is also quick to stress that he will not be stealing anyone’s glory.

“Wembley is there, but it is in the back of my mind at the moment,” said the full-back, whose first goal in Bradford colours came in the 2-2 draw at Fleetwood.

“It is the lads who have been here all season that have got Bradford to Wembley through their hard work. It is their baby.

“I cannot take any credit for that. I have been brought in to help us push on in the league and get as many games in as a I can.

“Of course, if the chance comes then you take it. But I do feel strange because those boys have given everything to achieve something that deserves huge respect.”

Dickson’s career has taken him from Plymouth Argyle to Southampton via a couple of years at Brentford. At Griffin Park, he was a regular, but it was a different story at Home Park and St Mary’s with first-team opportunities proving much harder to come by.

This lack of games has meant Dickson having to go out on loan for regular football, Valley Parade being the fourth temporary stay of his career.

He said: “I have settled in well. From the secretary through to the entire team, they just can’t do enough for me. I feel I have fitted in well.

“It can be hard joining a team on loan as it isn’t always easy to fit in. Personally, I am not a big fan of going out on loan. Signing for a club is very different.

“But since coming to Bradford, I have been made to feel really welcome. The gaffer said to me on the first day, ‘You are here to the end of the season and I now see you as one of my players’.

“That helps a lot as when you get brought in on loan, sometimes you are not too sure what people think of you. And that makes it hard to settle.

“There is a real sense of something building here. The togetherness is huge. I have won promotion a couple of times and I believe the boys can achieve something special in the league to go with what has happened in the Cup.”

If City are to push back up the league, an improvement on a run of form that has brought just one win in two months is a priority.

The signs were encouraging in the second half at Fleetwood, not least in how Dickson slotted in at left-back with no problem following the defensive shift brought about by McArdle suffering an ankle injury.

On the goal, Dickson added: “As I went through, I was looking for Nahki (Wells) so I could square the ball. But, from the angle I was at, the Fleetwood defence seemed more interested in him than me so I decided to take it on.

“I have scored a few goals in my career, that was probably my seventh or eighth. But I think the last one was a year ago when out on loan for Yeovil.

“To be honest, I was just glad to play as the first two games (of his loan spell against Oxford and Crewe in the JPT) came round very quickly.

“After not playing all season, it was a big step up and I probably wasn’t as up to scratch as I could have been. But, after a good gap since my last game (against Crewe), I’d had a lot of training and felt a lot better.

“I feel a real part of it now and feel like I’ve been here a while. I sense the gaffer has made a point of bringing in good characters and that’s probably why I have been made to feel so welcome.”