Tuesday night sees us welcome the Bantams to the Ricoh Arena for what is once again, a must win game for the Sky Blues. Last time we met City fell to a 3-2 defeat at Valley Parade after throwing away what looked to be a draw. Reda Johnson got his second of the game late on to make it 2-2 but Bradford went up the other end straight from kick off and stole three points courtesy of James Hanson.
The home game is a completely different game however, and who knows, maybe the Sky Blues could gain a much needed three points? After another dismal display on Saturday to Port Vale, Tony Mowbray and his side will be aiming to put things right and make up for yet another defeat.
Bradford will be in confident mood though after earning a FA Cup Quarter Final Replay against Reading as the initial tie ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Their league form isn’t brilliant over the last five games (two wins, one draw, two losses), but they come in to the game sitting 10th and only two points outside the top six with a couple of games in hand over the teams above.
Meanwhile, the Sky Blues sit precariously in 20th position in the league and only three points off the bottom. With this being a game in hand, a win would be very handy to relieve some of the ever growing pressure. Recent form isn’t brilliant for us (one win, two draws, two losses) and with two very poor performances on the bounce, it will take something special if City are going to defeat the side from Bradford.
The Sky Blues have no fresh injury concerns as Tony Mowbray could name an unchanged team. Danny Pugh and James Maddison remained sidelined, and Reda Johnson is set to be out for another month. Jordan Willis is still out which leaves the home side a bit short defensively, but Conor Thomas has rejoined training this week, but this game may have come too soon for him.
Bradford will be without Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford as parent club Sunderland have recalled him from his loan spell, allowing Ben Williams to keep his place between the posts following Saturday’s game with Reading. Andy Halliday, Mark Yeates, Matty Dolan and Gary MacKenzie are all in contention to start after missing out on the FA Cup tie. Filipe Morais will be assessed after being replaced late on in the Bantams last game as his knee injury flared up again. Jon Stead will also most likely be lining up, and us City fans know him well, as do most of the country now after his FA Cup exploits.
Obviously every game in this division is tough, especially when you’re in the position we are. I think major improvements need to be made on Saturday’s performance, if you can call it that. Defensively, we need to man up and thwart a very competent Bradford front line, one that comprises of the best header of a ball in the division in my opinion, James Hanson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Andy Webster was recalled to the inexperienced back four, especially with Mowbray realising how “naive” we are at the back.
I think Sanmi Odelusi showed glimpses of what he can do when he came on at the weekend, and I think he should start on the wing instead of Frank Nouble who was poor again. I would also hand a first start to Nick Proschwitz. I know we haven’t seen much of the big German yet but I believe he would be our best bet of unlocking a very physical Bradford defence. Marcus Tudgay would have to be dropped at his expense, the striker didn’t have a great game by any means against Vale but he was left isolated for large parts of the game.
I just hope that no matter what team is shoved out there on the pitch, we leave the Ricoh tomorrow pleased with our performance and most importantly the three points. It’s another huge game, we need a win! Let’s hope Mowbray can right a few wrongs and claim a result that lets be honest, none of us fans are expecting.
Here goes, my prediction… I’ll go with 1-1. Let’s hope it’s better than that!