Bradford City meeting the opposition.
Other than a lack of quality at times, Tranmere Rovers’ biggest problem this season has been their consistency.
On Saturday afternoon, Micky Mellon’s men beat Salford City 1-0 with a first half strike from Kieron Morris. Can The Whites back up their performance when they travel to Valley Parade this Tuesday night? Time will tell.
Mark Hughes’ Bradford are currently placed eighth and are in fine form having beat Stevenage 3-2 on the weekend.
Bantams supporter Adam Sopf spoke to me about all things City ahead of the game.
How long have you been supporting Bradford? What are some of your best and worst moments supporting the club?
I’ve been going since I was about 14. The FA Cup run in the 14/15 season was probably one of the best moments and nothing has matched it since. The past 5 years of supporting City have been pretty depressing so I could pick any moment from then.
After finishing 14th last season, The Bantams are currently positioned 9th and have failed to win any of their last three (Mark Hughes’ side will play away at Stevenage before the game against Tranmere). How would you describe the campaign so far?
It’s the first season in a long time where you can tell we’re starting to move forward as a club and starting to do things right off the pitch. I think most City fans expected us to be a bit higher up the table at this stage of the season, but Mark Hughes has the backing of the majority of fans. We’ve shown glimpses of how well we can really play but at the same time it’s also been frustrating because of how inconsistent we can be.
How has last summer’s recruitment fared? Players such as Timi Odusina, Centre back from Hartlepool. Winger Harry Chapman from Blackburn Rovers and Striker Vadaine Oliver from Gillingham were brought in.
The summer saw a huge revamp in the squad. The quality of the recruitment has been head and shoulders above anything we’ve had in the past 5 years thanks to the appointment of Stephen Gent as head of recruitment. Gents’ most impressive piece of business was uncovering a hidden gem of a goalkeeper, Harry Lewis. This man is an incredible shot-stopper, calm on the ball, has quality distribution and he’s only 25. Lewis is going to be playing a lot higher than League Two in a few years.
In the January window seven players were brought in, either on loan or on a permanent deal, to cover all areas of the pitch. Do you feel enough was done to address the issues the side had?
Our main issue going into January was the lack of midfielders. It was probably our weakest part of the pitch and teams would dominate us in midfield. The signing of the experienced Adam Clayton from Doncaster has helped us massively but we’re still a bit light in that area. Unfortunately, we lost Tyreik Wright to Plymouth in January and none of his replacements (Nevers and Costelloe) look anywhere near as good as he was. Time will tell if January made us stronger or weaker. I’m sitting on the fence.
Bradford’s manager is arguably the best in the league, former Stoke and Manchester City boss Mark Hughes. Thoughts on him, his playing style and his relationship with supporters?
Mark Hughes normally likes to play out from the back starting from the goalkeeper whilst playing a 4-2-3-1 but after a poor run of form, he’s switched it up slightly to play more direct to the frontmen and currently plays a narrow diamond in midfield. Most fans are behind Mark Hughes due to the maturity he’s brought to the club. Our fans can be very fast to jump on a manager’s back but that hasn’t often happened this season. I think he’s earned the respect of many because of what he’s done in the game.
Stefan Rupp is the Owner. Thoughts on him? What would you like to see being changed at the club in the near future?
We never really hear much about him, to be honest. I think he’s been to one or maybe two games since the start of the pandemic but to be fair to him he keeps us afloat and puts money in but one day I would like to see someone with a bit more of a footballing vision. We have to thank him for not selling us to those clowns at Crawley!
Tranmere promotion winner Andy Cook is top scorer with seventeen goals in thirty games. How would you describe his playing style and who are the other key players?
Andy Cooks is so much more than just a target man. He’s been one of the best strikers we’ve had over the past 10 years and everyone loves him. His finishing ability is deadly, just give him one sniff at goal and 9 times out of 10 it’s IN the back of the net. Jamie Walker is another key player. He was probably our marquee signing from the summer but he’s been out most of the season. His form has just started to pick up as he gets a run of games.
Where will the key battles be played on Tuesday? Score prediction?
The key battles will definitely be in the middle as we’ve been looking to overload it over the past few games. If you keep Andy Cook quiet then we don’t really have another goal threat. The Stevenage win will have given us a big boost in confidence, I’m going 2-0 City.
Thoughts on The Rovers? Where do you see them finishing in May?
You’re very inconsistent this season, results-wise, but you’ve done okay after a tough run of fixtures. I think you’ll finish mid table.
Bradford City’s Valley Parade. Rovers will look to find some consistency in their performance when they travel here on Tuesday night having drawn there last season.