Colchester United v Bradford City: Mark Hughes wants level of consistency from referees

Bradford City manager Mark Hughes has been pleasantly surprised by the standard of players since he began working in League Two for the first time in February – but the referees less so.

Hull official Carl Boyeson, a veteran of over 600 matches, took charge of Friday’s game against Tranmere Rovers, sending off Elliott Watt in the first half. It was Boyeson’s fifth red card this season, on top of 90 bookings in 24 games.

“At times, maybe the officials allow a little bit too much to go,” argued Hughes, whose side are at Colchester United today.

“Then when they do pull something up, that becomes a problem for them because that antagonises the crowd. We’re talking about that consistency level again. You’d rather that they’d consistently pull up foul play in certain situations. It’s when sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t that football people get frustrated.”

Bantams manager Mark Hughes. Picture: Tony Johnson

Hughes is planning to freshen his team as for the first time, in his 10th game in charge, the Bantams face a team below them in the table. The Us are still not technically safe from relegation.

“I think we’ve acquitted ourselves really well against all these teams pushing towards the top,” said Hughes.

“I think we’ve more than matched them and probably bettered them if you pick out all the good performances.”

Hughes has plenty of options to shuffle the pack, with eight players unused at the weekend, although Levi Sutton will only play if needed.

Today’s referee is Darren Handley, in his sixth season as a Football League referee.

Last six games: Colchester United LLWWLL; Bradford City DDLDLW

Referee: D Handley (Lancashire)

Last time: Colchester United 1 Bradford City 2, March 27, 2021, League Two