The Opposition View: Bradford City

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 27 October 2017

What's your assessment of Bradford's season so far?

Very well. I went against the grain of most fans pre-season and predicted us to finish 4th but expected a slower start. There was a lot of pessimism around the club in the summer, personally I think it was to do with the play off final defeat but a lot of our fans decided to take it out on our owners saying the club lacked ambition as we struggled to hang onto key players from last season

There is always going to be upheaval in a lower league squad after a season like we had. Some leave to better things after impressing and some are deemed not good enough to take us to the next level. 

Who are the key players in the Bantams' squad?

I'll start with Charlie Wyke. Some Pompey fans will have seen the game live on Sky where he scored a hat-trick after just returning from injury and missing all pre-season. In the first month of the season we were very poor without him in the team although still picked up points but without him the ball just does not stick up top.Also, he's got a very good goal ratio for a target man and is already comfortably our top scorer.

Next, we have Romain Vincelot. The captain, General, enforcer and just an incredibly beautiful beard, what's not to love? Again, he's missed four games through suspension this season, after playing every game except the final dead rubber last season. And it shows when he doesn't play as we not only miss his bite (if you have a star player he likes to just stand on their toes all game and spoil the party) but he can also play.

Jake Reeves, we've loved him so far. Some say he's overrated, but the same said it about Cullen last season. He strikes a vital partnership with Vincelot and Nicky Law in the centre. Stuart McCall called them the best midfield in the league after the MK Dons thrashing, some praise from that man. Trust them all to have a shocker though against Bury the week after.

Hard not to go through our best XI, as we are not a team of individual superstars but a solid collective unit when all fit. But I'll finish with Matt Killgallon. Didn't happen for him last season due to fitness

and then a freak injury against Millwall in January to end his season. We would have easily gone up in second with him fully fit last season, just look at the difference the centre backs made for Bolton. Even at his age he is far too good for this league, sometimes you can just tell when a players played all their career at a higher level and with Killa it's like he's playing against kids at times. He almost looks bored but never puts a foot wrong, if he were in his mid 20's he'd be worth millions but we wouldn't have him.

I'm grateful for Blackburn playing him out of position at LB and finishing his Championship career of allowing him to come here. Mention to his partner Percival who's putting in another solid level of performance this season. 

What are your team's biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: 

Very good starting XI with not really any weak links, all can play football the way we want, which is on this floor and to move teams side to side to tire them. Amazing away form, home was a fortress but not been this season although if we can consistently get our best XI out I think that would change. Very good senior pros such as McMahon, Vincelot and Killgallon which is a massive benefit to a relatively young side. 

Weaknesses:

Simple - strength in depth. As I've already touched on our starting XI can beat anyone on their day and even batter most, but it seems to only take one piece of the jigsaw to be out and we are a totally different team. Also we can be just a bit too open at times. I can't complain too much as we are entertaining most of the time but we could do with being a little more street smart when leading. 

What kind of match are you expecting at Fratton Park and is a draw a good result for you on Saturday?

I'll start with result. Of course it is, you're the biggest club in the division with fantastic support so it won't be an easy place to go. Regardless of just coming up you're a big scalp for anyone in the division, I predicted you top six pre-season. However, I know it's only two games, but the games I saw on Sky I was underwhelmed, and after the MK Dons win I was feeling confident of a good win.

But with players still out and the fact that you're probably better than the games I saw I've tempered expectations and going for a high scoring draw.

We'll bring one of the biggest followings to you of the season, which usually makes the home team fans react. So I'm expecting quite a hostile game for the players, and high energy start from you. The old cliché, but we need to quieten down the crowd early as Rotherham did by being on the front foot. 

Predict the outcome of the match.

2-2, with a late equaliser for Pompey.

I'd just like to say what a credit your fans have been over the last 6-7 years, especially when you fell to League 2. Like with us falling from the Premier League to League 2 is hard to take, but to first of all save the club then back it in huge numbers is testament to you all.

And the away followings considering distance is remarkable as well. A genuinely big club at this level which I hope to see in the top two tiers sooner rather than later, hopefully with us and not at our expense.

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