Cheltenham Town v Bradford City – Attitude and desire starting to pay off for Bantams

OVER the past 18 months or so, Bradford City’s statistics have made for pretty grim reading.

TIGHT STUFF: Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer. Picture: James Hardisty.
TIGHT STUFF: Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer. Picture: James Hardisty.

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That the Bantams are currently being feted for their numbers stacking up for the right reasons represents a refreshing departure and for everyone connected with the claret and amber, it is a case of ‘long may it continue.’

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Seventh-placed Bradford’s leakage of just five goals in League Two this season is bettered only by Newport County, with the club’s goals against record at the start of the campaign being their best sequence in exactly a quarter of a century.

On City’s impressive defensive statistics, which has seen goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell record four shut-outs already in 2019-20, Bowyer said: “We have got the best start for goals conceded since 1994-95 and that is enormously satisfying and we want to build on that further.

“I was totally unaware of it, but I am very pleased for the players and they are seeing a reward for all of their efforts and we have got to keep progressing.

“It comes from the desire of the players to keep clean sheets.

“Obviously, the goalkeeper plays his part in that and he has stood up when called upon.

“We must try and build on the last few results and go again.”

Keeping in the statistical realm, Bowyer has professed to being delighted by his team’s mental attitude and ability to last the course throughout the duration as evidenced by their late weekend winner at Walsall.

It followed their strong rally in the final quarter to come from behind and triumph in their previous game with Northampton and represented a positive sign..

“It is not something that just happened at the weekend,” added Bowyer. “It has been there for all to see throughout the course of the season.

“Even when we were in a losing position, we came back against Northampton to win after going behind at Valley Parade for the first time since March 2017. That just shows you.

“It comes from characters you recruit and the pre-season where you put them into situations where you try and make them to be as comfortable as possible in terms of being uncomfortable and under the cosh a little bit.”

Last six games: Cheltenham WDLLWW; Bradford WLLDWW.

Referee: S Purkiss (London).

Last time: Cheltenham 0 Bradford 1, January 17, 2017; Football League Trophy