Date: 4th January 2018 at 8:28am
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Back to some sort of normality now, Saturday’s the sole highlight of the footballing week with the odd Tuesday night thrown in. I really don’t know if I’m a fan of so many games within a space of a few days, I like to look forward to fixtures but the tightness of the fixture list over the Xmas and New Year period takes something away, but on the other hand it gives many supporters a chance to get a match they wouldn’t normally be able to make due to work or family commitments. Now after a very hectic period of 4 league games, we are now presented with a trip to a beautiful part of the UK and a winnable 3rd round tie in the FA Cup to 4th division Yeovil Town.

Stuart McCall will show Darren the Way
After a bit of a dismal Xmas losing 2 matches, City got back to winning ways with 2 morale boosting wins over a dangerous Oxford United and a very tricky tie away at Fleetwood Town. The Bantams are 39 places above the Glovers in the football pyramid and achieved impressive wins on the road such as Shrewsbury Town, Wigan Athletic, Portsmouth, in fact the Bantams have the best away record in the 3rd division winning 9 of their 13 games on the road, so the prospect of playing a team that are only 3 places above the relegation zone from the football league will make McCall’s mouth salivate as he will envisage drawing a big club in the 4th round of the cup, least forgetting giving the Leeds born Scot his best cup run as a manager in the tournament. Leading scorer Charlie Wyke has netted 12 times this season and you would expect him to easily get onto the score sheet against weaker opposition than he is used to playing against. Yeovil Town have been a club that traditionally struggles, finishing 20th in League 2 last season, 19th the season before, 24th the season before in League 1, again 24th the season prior in the Championship, and apart from the 2012/13 season where the Glovers ended in 4th in League 1, the best position they have mustered in any league in the last 10 seasons is 14th in 2010/11 in League 1. With the way this season is going, Yeovil Town would have finished higher than 14th only the once in the last 11 years in any division including the current season. So, on paper, you would expect this match to be like the proverbial sparring match.

It may go Darren’s Way
Last season Yeovil Town dropped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle, losing the replay on penalties against Solihull Motors, but previously, town have managed to get to the 3rd round twice and 4th round once in the FA Cup, that really isn’t a bad come back from the previous 4 seasons, including this season, reaching at least round 3 on 4 occasions at 4 attempts, and once going further, that is a reputation current City manager can not brag about. City are Cup drop outs under the fiery Scot, being knocked out by the mighty Accrington Stanley in the first round last season at home, in his first spell managed to claw his way to the 2nd round each of his first 2 seasons and then humiliated in the first round the following 2 seasons. So at 6 attempts, McCall has progressed past the 2nd round just the once, and failed THREE times to win at the first step, this traditional Cup form under McCall gives Yeovil Town their only realistic possibility of claiming a huge scalp to progress. Let’s not take anything from McCall’s run this season, but we are right now looking at how and why the Somerset club can win the game come Saturday afternoon. There are hundreds of reasons why the Bantams can win, but only 1 why the Glovers can win, and as we all know in the FA Cup, it is all on the day.

Head to head and form
3 wins Yeovil Town
2 draws
1 win Bradford City

Now, that is an utter shock, the Glovers and Bantams have only met each other on 6 occasions especially considering Town have existed for 122 years and 115 years for the Yorkshire side. City do have a poor record against the Glovers, the last season we were paired up was in 2014/15 in League 1 with the Southerners claiming the double, the last fixture at Huish Park was 3 years ago to the month, 1-0 thanks to Gozie Ugwu in the first half. The only time City has won at Huish Park was at our first attempt back in January 2006 with a late winner from Dean Windass with minutes to go gifting the Bantams a 0-1 victory. This will be the first meeting between the 2 clubs in a cup competition.

Glovers last 6 LLWWDW
Glovers last 6 home LWWLWW
City last 6 WWLLWW
City last 6 away WLWWWW

In all competitions City’s away form is exemplary, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we are the inform team on the road in the English game, even Man City have a draw and a loss in their last 6 away games in all competitions. Xmas was a bit of a blip for City losing both their games, but have won 4 times in the last 6. Not bad at all. Yeovil are slightly above the relegation zone, and you would expect the Glovers to be safe realistically from the drop come May. If we are fair, their form isn’t bad, especially at home, winning 4 times in their last 6 games on home turf. I am counting the win after extra time at home to Port Vale as a win as some may count that as a draw. A win is a win is a win in my book. 2 losses in their last 6 games doesn’t bode to bad either, the reality is, the Glovers’ form is better than what you would expect it to be.

Yeovil Town’s last 6 results
Crawley Town (H) 1-2 win
Morecambe (A) 4-3 loss
Cheltenham Town (A) 0-2 win
Exeter City (H) 3-1 win
Mansfield Town (A) 0-0 draw
Port Vale (H) 3-1 AET win

City’s last 6 results
Fleetwood Town (A) 1-2 win
Oxford United (H) 3-2 win
Peterborough United (H) 1-3 loss
AFC Wimbledon (A) 2-1 loss
Southend United (A) 1-2 win
Rochdale (H) 4-3 win

Current FA Cup run
Round 1
Yeovil Town 1-0 Southend United
Bradford City 2-0 Chesterfield

Round 2
Port Vale 1-1 Yeovil Town
Yeovil Town 3-1 (AET) Port Vale
Bradford City 3-1 Plymouth Argyle

Last 6 league encounters between the Glovers and City
Jan 2015 – Yeovil Town 1-0 City
Sep 2014 – City 1-3 Yeovil Town
Jan 2007 – City 0-2 Yeovil Town
Dec 2006 – Yeovil Town 0-0 City
Jan 2006 – Yeovil Town 0-1 City
Sep 2005 – City 1-1 Yeovil Town

Goals in numbers, last 6 games
For – City 13, Yeovil 12
Conceded – Yeovil 9, City 12
Blanks – City 0, Yeovil 1
Clean sheets – Yeovil 2, City 0

Goals in numbers Yeovil home/City away (last 6)
For – Yeovil 11, City 9
Conceded – City 5, Yeovil 8
Blanks – City 0, Yeovil 1
Clean sheets – City 2, Yeovil 1

Leading scorers
12 Charlie Wyke (City)
10 Otis Khan (Yeovil)

Boz’s match verdict: Away win

5 Fun Facts

1. Current players to play for both Yeovil Town and Bradford City are Nicky Law, Francois Zoko and Ryan Dickson. Current City midfield Law had a loan spell at the Glovers between Feb-Mar in 2007 making 6 appearances, only 2 of which were at home, both losses. Law has had 2 loan spells at City, in the 07/08 and the 08/09 seasons and signing permanently in 2016 from Rangers making a total of 122 appearances scoring 10 goals as a Bantam. All Law’s loan spells came whilst he was a Sheffield United player. Zoko has been with the Glovers since Nov 2015 making 98 matches scoring 30 goals in total. This was after a loan spell from Blackpool at Valley Parade back in Nov 2014-May 2015 having played in 21 games with 1 goal to his name. Dickson signed from Crawley in 2015 least forgetting a short loan spell from Southampton between Jan-Feb 2012 in total 111 games as a Glover scoring 3 times. Some may remember Ryan had a loan spell, again from Southampton at Valley Parade in Jan-Feb 2013 and managed to play 6 games scoring once.

2. Did you know that Yeovil Town Ladies play in the top flight in the women’s game having won the 2nd division (Women’s Super League 2) back in 2016. Last season they finished 9th (out of 10) avoiding relegation. This season the Glovers have yet to register a point, or even score a goal in the league, losing all 5 matches and conceding 14 goals. A tough trip beckons this Saturday away to Liverpool, can they change their recent fortunes?

3. The only player to see red between Bradford City and Yeovil Town was Jermaine Johnson. Johnson received a 2nd booking for the home side with 10 minutes to go as City lost 0-2 at Valley Parade in 2007.

4. Yeovil Town may not have the most successful time in the world of English football, but with all the heartaches of relegation fights of recent decades, did you know that the Glovers were as recently as 1997 playing in the Isthmian League and it took them only 16 years to reach the 2nd division with 4 promotions gaining a place in the Championship for the 2013/14 season. Their position of 24th that season is Yeovil’s highest final league placing.

5. Did you know that Bantam legend, Dean Windass is the only City player to score a goal at Huish Park.

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