Walsall v Bradford City: Record will underline City are in safe hands

Bantams' keeper Ben Williams. (Picture: Tony Johnson)
Bantams' keeper Ben Williams. (Picture: Tony Johnson)
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WHEN an untimely mistake by Ben Williams literally handed Fleetwood Town a point in mid-September, the Bradford City goalkeeper looked set for a long spell on the sidelines.

Brad Jones, the former Liverpool goalkeeper, had been signed by manager Phil Parkinson a few weeks earlier and was ready for action after getting up to speed in training.

In the wake of Williams being deceived by an innocuous free-kick that caught the blustery Lancashire wind, the City manager did, indeed, turn to Jones and it was difficult to imagine such a high profile signing being dislodged any time soon.

Less than three weeks later, however, and Williams was back in the side as Jones headed towards the exit after an unconvincing trio of displays.

Since then, 33-year-old Williams has proved nigh on unbeatable to help Bradford into the promotion picture and today could match a club record that has stood for more than a century.

“It was a strange one when Brad came in,” admitted Williams, “as I had not really been in that position before.

“In my career, I had only ever missed out on games through injury or illness, and never for that long.

“I wasn’t happy to come out of the team, no one ever is. Was I at fault for the Fleetwood goal? Yes. But it is one of those things, a freak occurrence that can happen now and again.

“There was probably a buzz for Brad coming in due to the pedigree he has got and the level he had been involved at.

“It didn’t work out for whatever reason but that doesn’t make me change my outlook. I am a very competitive person anyway.

“Whether in the team or out, you want that jersey. That is what I want to do until the end of the season.”

Williams has kept seven consecutive clean sheets and another today will match a club record set in 1910-11.

He added: “Everyone notices when a goalkeeper makes a mistake. If someone makes a loose pass or a forward drags a shot wide, the thought process is, ‘Unlucky, make up for it next time’.

“But if you make a mistake in goal, nine times out of 10 the ball goes in the net. The finger is pointed at you.

“Goalkeepers in the modern day do get judged on mistakes. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you make mistakes on a regular basis then you won’t achieve the level you should. You have to limit them and, thankfully, at the moment things are working out.”