Bradford City's Richie Smallwood relishing the battle as Bantams head out on the road again

Away from home at Sutton United's tight Gander Green Lane, Bradford City are in for another battle on Saturday. Captain Richie Smallwood cannot wait.

For all that they have easily the biggest crowds in League Two at Valley Parade, the Bantams' form there is only mid-table whereas only Leyton Orient have picked up more points on their travels.

Former Middlesbrough, Rotherham United and Hull City midfielder Smallwood thinks it has a lot to do with mindsets, having seen his team-mates show what they are made of on Tuesday.

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They ended a five-match winless streak with a 2-1 win at promotion rivals Mansfield Town despite Matty Platt's 65th-minute red card leaving them a man light for a game which went way beyond the 90 as referee Simon Mather took a dim view of their time-wasting tactics.

BATTLE-HARDENED: Richie Smallwood (left) in action against Hull CityBATTLE-HARDENED: Richie Smallwood (left) in action against Hull City
BATTLE-HARDENED: Richie Smallwood (left) in action against Hull City

"You tend to switch mindsets," says Smallwood of the challenge away from home. "It would be great if you had that mindset all the time but you just don't.

"When you go down to ten men you have extra focus because you know you've got to work extra hard.

"You've got to try and get everyone on board because if one person switches off when you're down to ten men it's not ideal because there's already an overload.

"It makes the win feel sweeter.

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"When they scored on Tuesday and it got their fans up, it did make it that bit sweeter when you hear that final whistle. It's better than a 3-0 or a 4-1 romp."

What also helps is Bradford's big away following, with a fifth of the ground’s capacity set to be taken up by visiting supporters on Saturday.

"It's massive," says 31-year-old Smallwood. "It's really good when you see a packed-out away end. It makes you want to kick into them second half because you know it's going to be loud and if we can get ahead in the game they're going to bring it through for us.

"We want to celebrate with them at the end and we've done it a few times this season. It does mean a lot and the players really thrive off it – especially Andy (Cook, who has eight of his 14 goals away this season)."

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Smallwood also believes the responsibility of captaining the side brings the best out of him."I've done that role for a couple of years, it comes naturally to me," he says. "I try to add the other side of it but I really enjoy doing the dirty work, trying to give the ball to the players who have got ability.

"It comes naturally to some and not others. Some people have got it and the people who've got it seems to find it difficult understanding the people who don't but they could be thinking the same about us.

"I think I've always been good vocally, even as a young lad at Middlesbrough. Some people don't speak and it's easy to say, 'Start speaking,' but you either do or you don't. Someone doesn't just grow into a speaker.

"Occasionally it doesn't go well but I try my best for the team. Sometimes it might not be good information but at least I'm trying.

"Talking's better than no talking at all."

Bradford will make late injury calls on Matty Foulds, Tyreik Wright and Harrison Chapman.