Liam Ridehalgh relishing pressure as Bradford City look to set up League Two promotion 'shoot-out'

Pressure will be everywhere at a sold-out Sixfields on Saturday.

A Northampton Town win will book their place in next season's League One but they will remember how close they got on last year's final day only a for a second-half avalanche of Bristol Rovers goals to dump them into the play-offs.

If Bradford City win and follow it up in Wednesday's game in hand at Crewe Alexandra they start the final day two points behind the Cobblers with a better goal difference. Or they could fall out of the top seven.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But there are good and bad types of pressure and this is the former.

Liam Ridehalgh endured some unpleasant pressure to enjoy the good stuff after his nose was put out of joint – literally – in Swindon.

"I had an injection to numb it, a lot of pressure on the nose and a click but it's absolutely fine," says the left-back. "We tried a mask but I looked ridiculous so I thought I'd leave it. It was more a comfort thing.

"This is why we play football. The rewards are massive who wouldn't want to be playing in these games?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We know we need to get promoted this season so that's what we'll be aiming for and we're still in with a chance of automatic promotion.

EXCITED: Bradford City left-back Liam RidehalghEXCITED: Bradford City left-back Liam Ridehalgh
EXCITED: Bradford City left-back Liam Ridehalgh

"All these games at this time of the season are real high-pressure games so if we are in the play-offs it'll be good to get used to them.

"They'll come out absolutely firing and the crowd will be bouncing so we must put a dampener on that.

"If we win the intention will be to win on Wednesday then it's a shoot-out on the last day and you just don't know what's going to happen."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was rosier before a first away defeat of 2023, then Gillingham's added-time equaliser on Tuesday.

"One point out of a possible six isn't good enough but Tuesday's second-half performance gives us great confidence," says Ridehalgh.

Few players were as good at dealing with pressure as Hughes, who scored six goals in his 10 cup finals. He want his players to enjoy it.

"All these guys have been on a football journey at a good professional level so they've got a lot of the characteristics they need to be really resolute in mind and body," he says. "I just emphasise these are the ones you want to be involved in.

"At times on Tuesday we made poor decisions. That's they key, thinking clearly under pressure."