Injuries cloud Bradford City’s rise up the table

On target: Harry Pritchard.
On target: Harry Pritchard.
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Manager Gary Bowyer took inspiration from England’s World Cup rugby union win over Australia as he prepared Bradford City for their home match against Crawley.

Bowyer, a keen fan of rugby league, said: “I watched the rugby and how they defended at the start of the second half. The players looked at me strangely because I was talking about a totally different sport. I talked about the desire the English lads showed to make tackle after tackle and the small wins and they achieved that.”

The City manager was delighted with the Bantams’ third win in a row and their sixth in eight games, which lifted them into second place in League Two, but he is concerned about the club’s growing injury list.

Striker Clayton Donaldson had an operation on a toe injury suffered the previous week at Morecambe and will be out of action for two months and Bowyer said: “It’s a huge shock. I am really disappointed for him. With the list of injuries we have got and the amount of time they will be out it was a real team effort today.”

Bradford were rewarded for a bright start when Harry Pritchard put them in front in the 18th minute with a shot from winger Zeli Ismail’s cross.

Danny Devine increased their lead in the 49th minute after replacing the injured Pritchard at half-time, his 20-yard shot taking a deflection.

Crawley struck through Reece Grego-Cox in the 81st minute and City had to survive an anxious spell.

Bradford City: O’Donnell, Henley, A O’Connor Richards-Everton, Wood, Ismail (Mellor 83), Akpan, Cooke, Oteh (McCarten 71), Pritchard (Devine 45), Vaughan. Unused substitutes: Sykes-Kenwothy, P O’Connor, Anderson, Patrick.

Crawley Town: Morris, Young, Tunnicliffe, Dallison, Doherty (Sesay 64), Camara (Nathaniel-George 54), Ferguson, Allarakhia, Grego-Cox, Lubala, Bloomfield (van Velzen 75). Unused substitutes: Luyambula (gk), Sendels-White, Galach, Boadu.

Referee: W Finnie (Luton).