Date: 26th August 2008 at 9:51am
Written by:

Rhys Evans – 8
A very good performance from Bradford City’s Number 1. He claimed the crosses when he needed to, punched with assurance, collected possession in his box comfortably organised his defence well and should take full credit for a clean sheet.
His distribution is perhaps the only chink in his armour but even there he is improving.

Paul Arnison – 7
Arnie seems to be everybody’s fall guy but he’s gradually finding his feet. On Saturday he was unusually left exposed by Joe Colbeck from time to time and it wasn’t until the closing half hour that he and Joe really began to work well to stifle the threat down that flank.

Paul Heckingbottom – 8
Hecky had a great game, including two devastating runs in which he took on half the Rochdale side. An attacking Heckingbottom is a sign of a player back to his best.

Graeme Lee – 8
A tower of strength at the back, another great day at the office for our Captain.

Matt Clarke – 9
My man of the match for a performance in which he won every header that came his way. Last year this fixture was about Matt Clarke for all the wrong reasons, he definitely atoned for that mistake.

Lee Bullock – 7
Bully does a lot of the stuff that goes unnoticed.

Joe Colbeck – 7
Normally I leave VP impressed with Joe and frustrated with Omar. On Saturday it was the other way round. I felt last season’s Player of the Year turned in an Omar 07-08 performance and left Arnison exposed on a number of occasions as well as going walk about from his position on the wing

Paul McLaren – 8
Testament to his contribution was that when he went off injured it took two players to replace him, and even then they didn’t come close to bringing his assurance to the centre of the park

Peter Thorne – 8
As a team we’ve scored 6, as an individual he’s scored 5 and made 1.

Michael Boulding – 8
Desperately unlucky not to add a second late on in the game but his partnership with Peter Thorne will create more goals, that’s pretty guaranteed on this showing

Omar Daley – 8
I was incredibly pleased by Omar’s performance as he continues to turn in 90 minutes of work that keeps the level of expectation high. Of course his decision making can improve but he was a constant threat to the Rochdale right flank as well as putting in three or four crucial saving tackles after Paul Heckingbottom had been beaten all ends up.

Subs
Kyle Nix – 5
Pretty miserable afternoon for Nixy. When Dale hit the bar it was because Nix had been too easily beaten to a ball in the air in the box. With him alongside Bullock many of the old question marks resurfaced

TJ Moncur – 6
Was a good calming presence in a 5-man midfield. Would have perhaps preferred to see him introduced as McLaren’s replacement after 55 minutes.

Barry Conlon – 5
If Barry needs to perform when he’s on the pitch in order to extend his contract he will need to perform better than this.