Preview: Bradford City vs Exeter City

It may have been a dreadful game, but a rare piece of quality deep into injury time on Tuesday night meant it was back to back wins for City, as well as a fifth clean sheet in the last six league matches. Matt Taylor made just one change to the starting line-up for the win over Leyton Orient, Jake Caprice sitting it out with Jack Sparkes coming in, and he hinted at further changes to freshen things up as the schedule becomes busier following the numerous postponements over the holiday season. Caprice will return, while Sam Nombe, Kyle Taylor and Nigel Atangana could be in line for a start. One part of the pitch unlikely to see much in the way of change is the back three, with Cheick Diabate, Sam Stubbs and Pierce Sweeney forming a great partnership.

It’s fair to say things haven’t gone quite to plan for Bradford – installed amongst the favourites for automatic promotion having prised Derek Adams away from promoted Morecambe, patchy form including even more draws than City have managed has seen Adams come under scrutiny. The pressure will have eased somewhat following a win over his old adversary Paul Tisdale on Tuesday night, Bradford’s 1-0 win at Stevenage meaning the Bantams know a strong run could propel them back into the promotion picture, although they are currently seven points off the playoffs having played more games than most of their rivals. Adams was particularly busy in the loan market in January, bolstering his options with the likes of beanpole striker Tom Elliott from Salford and Jamie Walker from Hearts – Walker scored the all-important goal on Tuesday night. Nathan Delfouneso also joined on loan from Bolton on deadline day which, with others already at the club like Theo Robinson, Lee Angol and Andy Cook, means Bradford can post a who’s who of journeyman strikers.

There may be a fair amount of needle in this fixture – not just because panto villain Adams is in charge at Bradford, but also following the FA Cup capers back in November. Following a 1-1 draw at Valley Parade, City cruised in extra time to a 3-0 win in the replay, only to find that because they’d used six substitutes when the rules had changed this season to five (and no extra player in extra time), the match was declared null and void. The FA ordered a replay when it accepted the officials had made an error, much to the anger of Bradford – even though they were only denied the chance to use a sixth substitute themselves because they’d already used up all their “slots” to make changes. The replayed match finished 2-1 to City, Dieng and Ray scoring the goals after Angol (sent off in the original replay) had opened the scoring for the visitors. The league encounter on the opening day was altogether less controversial, finishing 0-0. City have the slight edge in league head to heads with 16 wins to Bradford’s 15, 13 matches have finished level.

The match officials for this game are:-

Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistant Referees: Paul Newhouse and Daniel Woodward
Fourth Official : Trevor Kettle

Leave a Reply