Date: 4th December 2017 at 11:07am
Written by:

Stuart McCall takes the Football League Trophy more seriously than many would like to mention and over his tenure, he doesn’t do too bad at all, getting us through quite far in the competition. We all know it is a quite maligned the trophy, but at the end of the day it generates prize money for the club and a chance for a day out at Wembley. Is that really something to begrudge?

Oldham Athletic are our next opponents, the League 1 strugglers have earned 2 wins at Boundary Park in recent years over the Bantams in the competition, giving them a 2 win comeback from 2 meetings between the 2 sides in the trophy, neither time have the Bantams got onto the score sheet.

This time it’s different
Tuesday evening will be the 3rd time the 2 sides have met in the trophy, this being the first at Valley Parade so gives the Bantams a great opportunity to progress now as we are the knock out stages. Home advantage is massive in this competition especially as it is common knowledge teams play weakened match day squads. Now we are at the knock out competitions, I actually wouldn’t mind McCall playing his strongest available squads and get this piece of silverware into BD8 for the first time, but we all know the starting 11 will consist of regulars and fringe players.

Bantam for old ham.
At home against a struggling League 1 side, I can see us progressing to the next round, if this fixture was at Boundary Park, I would feel the Latics would actually take the game and come out victors, but at Valley Parade, we have a chance of having a first victory in the competition against Athletic after 2 whimsical losses. Players such as Omari, McCartan, Poleon and Thompson have a chance to show what they can do, all of which want to impress McCall and try and squeeze into the regular starting berths in the league. These players could mean the difference, add in a couple of first team regulars who have put City into the top 5 in the table, you would expect the Bantams to make home advantage count and win comfortably.

We’ll Old ham it up.
McCall won’t pick his strongest side as nor will Oldham, and this does add an element of surprise and uncertainty. We won’t be playing a team that play with each other week in week out and that could cost us the odd mistake which could turn a match on its head. The Latics beat Newcastle U21 4-1 and are unbeaten so far in the competition. For a team near the bottom 4, they have a forward in Eoin Doyle that has scored 13 times this season so far, 2 of which in this competition, so if he is match fit, expect to see him take to the field Tuesday evening and he alone could be the difference in the final result.

Head to head and form
107 games
33 Bradford City Wins
41 Oldham Athletic Wins
33 Draws

Quite regular opponents of Bradford City, the Latics have proven worthy opponents of the last 110 years who have had the most success between the 2 clubs. In our last 5 games, City have won 3 having earned the double in 2015/16, and the other 2 matches were draws at Valley Parade. The last Latics win came 7 fixtures ago back in October 2014 in League 1, 1 month after their victory in the trophy. City’s last win at Valley Parade was March 2015, 2-0 courtesy of a Billy Clarke brace. You have to go back to April 2014 for the last Valley Parade victory for Oldham, a 2-3 win with goals coming from James Wesolowski and 2 from Johnson Clarke-Harris with home goals from Adam Reach and a last minute goal from Gary Jones. The last time both met in the Football League Trophy was at Boundary Park, a 1-0 win for the Latics in September 2014 thanks to Jordan Bove. December 2011 provides the only other fixture between the 2 sides in the trophy which ended 2-0 with ex City Loanee Tom Adeyemi and ex Premiership star Shefki Kuqi netting for the Latics.

City last 6 WWLWLL
City last 6 Home WLLLWW
Latics last 6 LDDWWL
Latics last 6 away LDLDDW

To say the Latics are near the relegation zone, their form isn’t the bad and not that much different to the Bantams. 2 away losses in their last 6 and same again in their last 6 on the road doesn’t boast relegation form, granted I am taking into consideration all competitions when I look at results. City meanwhile, our form looks a little bit better after our 3-1 win over Plymouth in the FA Cup at the weekend. But as we all know, form goes out of the window in this competition.

City last 6 results
Plymouth Argyle (H) 3-1 win
Shrewsbury Town (A) 0-1 win
Scunthorpe United (H) 1-2 loss
Wigan Athletic (A) 1-2 win
Plymouth Argyle (H) 0-1 loss
Rotherham United (H) 0-1 loss

Latics last 6 results
Southend (A) 2-0 loss
Gillingham (A) 0-0 draw
AFC Wimbledon (H) 0-0 draw
Rochdale (H) 3-1 win
Newcastle United (H) 4-1 win
Carlisle United (A) 3-2 loss

Goals in numbers, last 6 games
City For 7, Against 8, Blanks 2, Clean sheets 1
City home For 8, Against 8, Blanks 2, Clean sheets 1
Latics For 9, Against 7, Blanks 3, Clean sheets 2
Latics away For 8, Against 10, Blanks 2, Clean sheets 2

Boz’s match verdict: Home Win

5 Fun Facts

1. Did you know that Oldham Athletic and Bradford City have actually played each other on Christmas day. The year was 1948, a division 3 (north) match in front of 22919 supporters, the game ending 1-2 to the Bantams. That season saw the Latics finish 6th in the table whilst the Bantams finished bottom on 29 points, 5 points off safety.

2. Although the Trophy has only been going since the 1983/84 season, 37 years ago, from the 8 sponsors of the competition, only 4 are still in existence. Freight Rover, Sherpa Van, Leyland DAF and LDV Group have all folded, which were all the same company in different guises and buy outs. Autoglass, Auto Windscreens, Johnstone’s Paints and now Checkatrade are still going strong.

3. Nether club has won the Trophy, but Oldham managed to get to the Northern Area final on 2 occasions, in 2004/05 losing out to Wrexham 6-3 on aggregate, and again in 2011/12 against Chesterfield, losing 3-1 on aggregate.

4. It is 20 years to the year that Bradford City sold Lee Duxbury to Oldham for the sum of £350k. Ex City youth player Duxbury went on to score 38 goals in 283 games between 1997 and 2003 becoming the Latics leading scorer in the 2000/01 season scoring 10 goals that campaign. In 2 spells at City, Duxbury scored 35 goals in 325 games and amassing transfer fees on 3 occasions totalling £735k, with City selling the player twice.

5. Did you know that if we had failed in signing Charlie Wyke at the start of the year from Carlisle United, leading Oldham Athletic scorer, Eoin Doyle was our 2nd choice. Doyle has scored 13 goals in 2017/18, 11 in League 1 and 2 in the trophy. Wyke has scored 9 goals this season, 8 in League 1 and 1 in the FA Cup. Doyle is currently the 4th leading scorer in the division, only 2 behind Rotherham United’s Kieffer Moore who scored 2 against the Latics 2 earlier in the season.

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