A League 2 blog with an overwhelmingly pro-Torquay United bias
The 7th team in our preview (and my 3rd) is ex-Premier League side Bradford:
Recap of last season
It was another disappointing season for the Bantams: plagued by both inconsistency and Peter Taylor, they were unable to string enough positive results together to do anything more than keep their heads above water. Things look to be steadily improving under new boss Peter Jackson, but he’ll need to impress from the off in his first full season.
To make room for the new arrivals, a number of players have been moved on, including goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley to Exeter and forward Gareth Evans to League 2 rivals Rotherham. Winger Omar Daley spent the latter half of last season on loan with the Millers and may yet leave the club despite being offered a new deal.
The largest attendance in the division should be capable of producing an intimidating amount of noise if appropriately motivated. That number of paying punters should also be capable of sustaining a decent playing budget despite the club’s recent financial woes: Peter Jackson looks to have recruited well and on paper they look sufficiently equipped to challenge for promotion.
The Bantams found it difficult to build any momentum last season and weren’t helped by their wasteful attack. Only Morecambe required a higher number of shots to score each goal and no side hit 3 or more goals on a less frequent basis. The disruption caused by the significant number of new faces may also encumber the purposeful start that Jackson will surely be targeting.
The most settled area of the Bantams’ squad at present is the defence, where Guy Branston has been parachuted in to add steel and experience as the side’s new captain. Although often unfairly dismissed as a ‘clogger’, the uncompromising journeyman was voted into the PFA Team of the Year last season after forming an integral part of the Torquay squad that reached the play-off final. He wears his heart on his sleeve, has worked incredibly hard on his all-round game over the past few seasons and remains an imperious aerial presence in both boxes.
One to watch
16-year-old Scottish midfielder Scott Brown, a summer purchase from Clyde, has been described by Peter Jackson as “a real find” with “a massive amount of potential”. While he looks set to start the season in the development squad, Brown has been assigned a first team squad number and could well find himself blooded as the season progresses.
League 2’s biggest crowd will rightfully expect better of their team this season and the investment has certainly been forthcoming. It’ll take a while for the squad to settle though, which could mean that a play-off challenge is a step too far this time around.
Ben: I’d be shocked if they didn’t improve on last season but given the number of new arrivals who’ll need time to gel, I can’t see them troubling the play-offs. Upper mid-table.
Danny: Always up with the favourites and this time I think they can push for the play-offs.
Maxi: Improvement but still playing the ‘sleeping giants’ role. Mid-table.
Links to other teams in this preview can be found here