Bradford City head to Northampton for only the third time in 27 years. The last time was in October 2006 when the teams played out a nil-nil draw. Prior to that it was a 2-0 victory for the Bantams also in October in 1981.
Stuart McCall’s men are full of confidence and belief whilst they come up against a side that until midweek had not won in 6 and with a caretaker in charge.
City have not historically fared well against teams looking to break their poor runs of form but whilst that monkey is off the back the caretaker boss, Ian Simpson, will want to stake a claim to getting the job full time on his final chance to impress.
Northampton’s form at the Sixfields has been DWLLW whilst the Bantams have not experienced defeat on the road since our week in Nottingham. Could a nine game unbeaten run by possible?
There’s a mixture of opinion on Twitter about this afternoon’s game…
@thedrbob: difficult to c anything but bc victory this afternoon; nt streak broken last week, bc continued; Hanson 2 nt 0 #ntvbc #bcafc
@cropcirclehead: My prediction: think today will be the day we dont perform like we have recently and get beaten 1-0. Lets hope not. . .
Northampton Town Team News:
Like Stuart’s confession, ‘I don’t know too much about’ our hosts today apart from their form and the presence of some good players.
Fortunately, for us, some of them are injured. Strikers Courtney Herbert (rib), Adebayo Akinfenwa (knee) and Gary Mulligan (back) are all doubts whilst Liam Davis’ metatarsal has ruled him out.
Defender Dean Beckwith (groin) is expected to be fit and the Cobblers will be hoping to kick on from their midweek victory over Rotherham
Player to watch: Adebayo Akinfenwa
If he passes his late fitness test he’ll give us a headache all afternoon
Bradford City Team News:
Stuart McCall loses a player but welcomes some back for this game
Gareth Evans, as we all know is missing for today and next week’s matches against Notts County and Crewe but aside from Omar Daley (and I think Steve O’Leary) the rest of the squad is available for inclusion.
Peter Thorne will likely be on the bench after coming through a reserve game in midweek where he’ll probably sit alongside Jon McLaughlin, Matt Clarke, Chris Brandon, Luke Sharry, Louis Horne and Simon Ramsden.
That means the starting XI will be the defence that has not conceded in 180 minutes. Simon Eastwood in goal, Luke O’Brien, Zesh Rehman, Steve Williams and Jon Bateson (shrugging off Simon Ramsden’s return to fitness).
The midfield three of James O’Brien, Lee Bullock and the influential Michael Flynn will provide the heart to the team whilst Scott Neilson will continue his marauding down the wing.
Up front James Hanson will be flicking the ball on for Michael Boulding.
Player to watch: Michael Boulding
A lot of words have been committed to screen about the former Mansfield hitman. After a sizzling pre-season he’s got three games to emulate Luke O’Brien or Jon Bateson and make it hard for returning players to get back onto the pitch.
Match Facts & Stats
City look to make it nine games unbeaten, comfortably being Stuart McCall’s best run whilst in charge of the Bantams, and the best for some time (some careful examination of the stats are required on this one, should we extend it today I’ll do the work)
D Phillips takes charge, see here for our brief take on his credentials
Tuesday night gives us an early opportunity to put that opening day behind us and to show the Magpies how far we’ve progressed. There’ll be no Sol but they’ll have Graeme Lee instead.