Southend United v Bradford City - Tale of two strikers as Bantams eye play-offs

STEVEN DAVIES: Suspended striker is left to hope that his team-mates can get Bantams into the play-offs. Picture: Simon Hulme
STEVEN DAVIES: Suspended striker is left to hope that his team-mates can get Bantams into the play-offs. Picture: Simon Hulme
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THE CHOICE of words may have been unfortunate considering the reason why Steven Davies will again be missing for Bradford City today, a point Phil Parkinson conceded almost the moment they left his mouth.

But, in describing the suspended Liverpudlian as “kicking himself” over his enforced absence from the side through suspension, the Bantams manager gave a telling insight into the frustration being felt by the striker over having to sit out such a crucial stage of the season.

Davies was shown a straight red card in the 1-0 defeat at Coventry City 10 days ago after kicking out at Jack Stephens off the ball.

It was an act born of frustration, a feeling Davies is getting to know well now he is confined to the stands for the final three games of the season.

“Steven Davies has had a really tough couple of weeks,” said Parkinson, whose side can clinch a place in the top six with victory at Southend United today.

“He is desperate for us to get in the play-offs so he can play a part. He is kicking himself about the incident – which are probably the wrong words to use – because he wants to play.

“But he has been training really hard this week because he wants to play. That has been good to see.”

Davies has been an important figure during the upsurge in form that has taken the Bantams to within touching distance of the play-offs.

Four times in the past couple of months, he has come off the bench to net a vital goal – the last two clinching crucial 1-0 wins over Millwall and Scunthorpe United.

Another forward largely limited to cameos as a substitute in recent weeks is James Hanson. Last weekend, though, brought a first start in 10 games and Hanson responded with the first hat-trick of his career in a resounding 4-0 triumph over Walsall at Valley Parade.

“This is what you want as a manager,” added Parkinson when asked about Hanson, who in the process of netting the hat-trick moved above Dean Windass and up to third in the all-time list of Bradford City goalscorers behind Frank O’Rourke and Bobby Campbell.

“To see someone come in who hasn’t really had things his way recently and been on the bench, just being used as a sub.

“Now, ‘Hans’ is fresh and that is a big benefit for us all. He is ready to go. A big part of James’s game is his running power. He can be almost unplayable.”