Why it was a Bradford City debut to forget for Romoney Crichlow and unfortunate team-mate Emmanuel Osadebe

ROMONEY CRICHLOW’S toughest moment on a football pitch arrived on Saturday.

Bad break: Emmanuel Osadebe suffered a double break of his leg just six minutes into his Bradford City debut.Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Bad break: Emmanuel Osadebe suffered a double break of his leg just six minutes into his Bradford City debut.Picture: Bruce Rollinson

It had nothing to do with making a game-changing mistake in a match or experiencing a gut-wrenching defeat in a key season-defining fixture.

It was everything to do with witnessing the scenes which immediately followed Bradford City team-mate Emmanuel Osadebe’s horror injury against Doncaster Rovers.

Osadebe, one of eight Bantams players making their debut along with Crichlow, lay writhing in agony following a challenge from Rovers midfielder Liam Ravenhill.

Upsetting: Bradford City's Romoney Crichlow saw fellow debutant Emmanuel Osadebe suffer a badly broken leg. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Crichlow and his team-mates instantly knew it was a very serious injury and immediately called for medical staff to come on to attend to the stricken player.

Visibly upset, he sat on his own while Osadebe was treated. It was subsequently revealed that the Irishman suffered a double leg-break which will sideline him for a significant period of time.

On whether it was the hardest thing he has experienced in his career to date, Crichlow, on a season-long loan from Huddersfield Town, said: “Without a doubt. It’s the first time I have experienced it live in person. I was visibly upset, you could see that.

“Credit to the boys on the pitch. They just said ‘Listen, we do this for him now.’ Prayers go out to him to have a good recovery.

Frustrating: Bradford City manager Mark Hughes saw his side held to a draw. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“We didn’t get the three points, but we put on a good performance in respect for him. We have got a lot to improve on. But we wish a speedy recovery for Manny, God bless him.”

Part of being a good team-mate is keeping the spirits up of players who find themselves sidelined with injury, especially those whose road to rehabilitation is likely to be lengthy as Osadebe’s will be.

The 25-year-old, whose debut lasted just six minutes, will have tough moments, for sure, in the weeks and months ahead.

But Crichlow insists he will be part of City’s journey in 2022-23 and should the club achieve success this season, it will be shared with Osadebe. It is another added motivation to do well, of course.

Crichlow, who impressed on his competitive debut for City, said: “Without a doubt. We go to war together and are a tight-knit bunch and we have had a really great pre-season and become a really close group.

“To see one of our boys go down like that is not nice. We have got to get behind him.

“Whether you are playing or not playing, everyone is together. We are a good close-knit group and I can say that honestly, hand on heart.

“It’s sad to see someone go out like that, but we know he’s a strong individual and has got a great character and hopefully he is back soon.”

In terms of the game, City were afforded an instant glimpse into what they are likely to expect from visiting sides at the University of Bradford Stadium this term, with dogged Rovers doing their level best to frustrate the hosts all afternoon.

Their tactics ultimately worked as Doncaster – who played the entire second-half with 10 men – stymied City and stopped them getting into any sort of rhythm en route to chiselling out a hard-earned point, with the ends justifying the means.

Crichlow added: “When a team sets up shop like that from minute one, it is a tough thing to break down.

“We are a team who likes the ball a lot, so it wasn’t an alien thing for us to have the ball.

“For them to have all 11 players behind the ball was difficult to break and we just couldn’t get the goal.

“It is an experience for us and we take everything as an experience and opportunity to learn, so that the next time it happens we are a lot more equipped.

“We take it as a compliment.”