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The Voice - Match preview Bradford City vs Harrogate Town Saturday 16th September 3:00pm

Discussion in 'City Talk' started by The Voice, Sep 12, 2023.

  1. The Voice

    The Voice The voice of reason
    The Voice

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    CityHarrogate.jpg

    EFL LEAGUE TWO FIXTURE #7


    Saturday 16th September 2023 15:00
    Bradford City vs Harrogate Town
    University of Bradford Stadium (AKA Valley Parade)

    22/23 Results:

    01 Oct 2022: Harrogate Town 1 – 2 Bradford City [League Two]
    05 Nov 2022: Bradford City 0 – 1 Harrogate Town [FA Cup]
    29 Dec 2022: Bradford City 1 – 0 Harrogate Town [League Two]

    Head-to-Head Form: WLWLL

    Won: 2
    Drawn: 0
    Lost: 5

    Current League Form:

    Bradford City: DDWLD
    Harrogate Town: LLWLL

    HARROGATE TOWN

    Harrogate Town suffered heartbreak in the 95th minute last Saturday when early season front-runners Gillingham snatched a winner in the dying minutes of additional time. Shaun Williams got the goal with an instinctive finish from a matter of yards after a bout of pinball in the Harrogate Town area, but the Sulphurites arguably deserved better than to leave Kent empty handed.

    A lack of goals, though, continues to haunt Simon Weaver's side, having drawn a blank for the third time in four league and cup outings, their only success in that spell coming against Nottingham Forest U21's in the EFL Trophy. Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers handed out an 8-0 pasting in the EFL Cup, but for more concerning will be Harrogate's inability to match even Bradford City's paltry 5 goals in 7 league games, Weaver's men so far maxing out with just 4.

    No single player has managed more than 1 league goal, with George Thomson, Jack Muldoon, Warren Burrell, and Luke Armstrong all sharing a single striker apiece, though George Thomson was also on target from the penalty spot against Forest's juniors, with former Bradford City defender Anthony O'Connor also registering a strike in that tie. That will have to change sooner rather than later for Harrogate, who are currently dicing with danger at the foot of the table, 3 points off the dreaded drop zone.

    It's too early to dismiss Harrogate Town, though, but they will not want to remain as the division's lowest scorers for long. A tie at Bradford City will be soon as an opportunity for Weaver, who insists his side are a 'work in progress', but who are showing signs of defensive resoluteness despite losing 5 of their opening 7 league fixtures. According to Weaver, Gillingham 'never looked like playing around [them]', and there's certainly some credit to be earned by running the league leaders so close.

    Having almost lost striker Luke Armstrong in a club record switch to Wrexham, Weaver found his side with a reprieve when the deal fell through due to a failure to meet the deadline inherent in the Summer transfer window. Armstrong was restored to the starting line up having missed the 1-0 home defeat to Barrow earlier this month, and Bradford City fans can likely expect him to line up against them this coming Saturday.

    Armstrong has to put the disappointment of seeing his big money transfer fall flat behind him, and grasp the opportunity to rattle in a few more goals for the Sulphurites after an impressive season last campaign saw him start all 46 league games, netting 16 times. Unfortunately, of the other players who almost hit double figures for Harrogate last season, Alex Pattison (9) made the switch to Valley Parade, while former Bantams loanee Matthew Daly (7) is yet to get off the mark.

    Can Daly provide a threat against his former side, and will the equally highly motivated Anthony O'Connor prove meddlesome at the other end?

    What's clear is, Harrogate Town have all the motivation in the world to have a go at Bradford City when Saturday comes, as they'll be eyeing their opponents as a team almost equally ineffective in front of goal, especially with so many players (including Pattison) out injured. Harrogate Town, meanwhile, will be near full strength going forward, with all of Muldoon, Odoh, Folarin, Armstrong, and James Daly to call on.

    Two more former Bantams, Levi Sutton and Matty Foulds both found themselves on the bench against Gillingham, having both lost their places following defeat at home to Barrow. Simon Weaver was critical of his Harrogate Town side following that particular defeat, saying Town didn't show enough quality or physicality, criticism that might feel familiar to long time Bradford City fans.

    It's perhaps unlikely either will be restored to the starting XI for the weekend, but that's a call Weaver will have to make nearer the time.

    In any event, Harrogate Town know the importance of getting points on the board, and improving their dismal goal tally and poor league position. Despite a series of industrious performances, results haven't gone their way, and they will know that will have to change against a depleted Bradford City side.



    Gillingham 1 – 0 Harrogate Town



    Harrogate Town 0 – 1 Barrow

    BRADFORD CITY

    There were glimpses of quality in the second half of Saturday's 1-1 home draw against Grimsby Town, not least those attributed to a useful-looking right flank manned by Brad Halliday and local boy Bobby Pointon. Their success largely came after a switch to a back 4, and a more traditional-looking full back-winger partnership. Indeed it was Pointon who laid off the chance for substitute Alex Gilliead to lash home the late leveller from the edge of the area.

    Gilliead's fine strike was his first goal since April 1, when he netted another against Grimsby Town that proved his only strike of the 22/23 campaign! A collector's item indeed...

    Collector's items, then, are the order of the day for a severely depleted Bradford City side whose injury woes show no immediate respite. Andy Cook remains out for around a month, Alex Pattison is not ready for a return, Tyler Smith looks unlikely to feature at the weekend, and Vadaine Oliver is not there yet either. At least Clarke Oduor will return from international competition, having played 22 minutes as a substituted substitute in Kenya's 1-0 defeat against South Sudan. Yes, you read that right: Oduor came on in the 59th minute, but was withdrawn in the 81st minute for reasons not immediately obvious from the video, but not appearing to involve an injury.

    The good news for the Bantams is they could potentially line up with a midfield involving Walker, Oduor and Gilliead, all of whom have scored 1 this season, though up front the options are slimmer pickings. Veteran Matt Derbyshire failed to impress in his first start of the season against Grimsby, while loanee attackers Rayhaan Tulloch and Chisom Afoka looked bright, but could not trouble the Grimsby Town goalkeeper in their respective cameos.

    While Derbyshire was involved in the best move of the first half, finding Walker for an opportunity that deserved much better from the Scot, his influence was fleeting and largely ineffective. To make matters worse, reliable defender Sam Stubbs, the most comfortable centre back in possession of the ball, limped off with a thigh problem and might be unlikely to start against Harrogate Town.

    It will not be easy for Mark Hughes, then, to piece together a convincing first XI, but there will at least be more pace available to him with Oduor likely to step back in. Pointon, too, who managed the full 90 minutes looks like he can only get better, and his Man of the Match award will certainly lend him confidence to get at Harrogate Town from the off this coming weekend. The crowd will back him from the stands for sure.



    Bradford City 1 – 1 Grimsby Town



    Mansfield Town 0 – 0 Bradford City
     
  2. The Voice

    The Voice The voice of reason
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    CityHarrogateLong.jpg

    THE BREAKDOWN


    Bradford City: 7/10
    Draw: 11/4
    Harrogate Town: 15/4

    Between them, Bradford City and Harrogate Town have registered just 9 combined goals across 14 total league fixtures. Both sides know that's not good enough, but neither side is showing signs of immediately breaking out from that form.

    For City, injuries are a big problem at the moment, and team selection too seems to have been weighted in favour of pace and energy being deployed in the second half rather than the first. The idea might be that veteran striker Matt Derbyshire can act as a fox in the box, and with class the last thing to go, even if he's not physically up to the rigours of League Two football, if a chance falls to his feet he would no doubt back himself to take it.

    Against Harrogate, that is possible. Harrogate Town have been defending manfully lately, blocking shots and defending crosses well. Bradford City, then, might be best served testing those attributes themselves, hoping for ricochets to fall to Derbyshire as he's unlikely to win the physical battles or provide an option of hold up play.

    The two young loanees, Afoka and Tulloch, might be best brought on late once more, with their pace and trickery a potential key-to-the-door – but Afoka in particular looked a little too keen to impress, particularly with a late dive for which he was rightly booked. Efforts on goal rather than penalty appeals, please.

    If none of that sounds too optimistic, at least Bantams fans know that Harrogate are even less deadly in front of goal, and that talented hitman Luke Armstrong has yet to score following the disappointment of his move to Wrexham falling through. Any doubts in Armstrong's mind will be fuel for the City centre back pairing of Matty Platt and Ciaran Kelly, who might be most likely to feature in a flat back four if Sam Stubbs is indeed out with a thigh problem.

    The mantle of 'bogey team', too, evaporated last season for Harrogate as the Sulphurites lost both League Two ties against Bradford City, even if they did avenge one of them with an FA Cup victory sandwiched in the middle. Bradford City are still playing catch up, then. They've won just 2 and lost 5 of the 7 games the two sides have met in, but having seen a few of their squad players depart for Harrogate and get considerable game time, Mark Hughes' men must surely know victory is not just expected here – it's an absolute must.

    Bradford City currently sit in 16th place, and while they've only lost twice (both on the road), even so much as a draw would be a sore spot for the expectant Bantams fans. Goals aren't easy to score against City, but nor are they easily scored by Bradford. While 0-0 might seem a safe bet on the surface, Bradford City absolutely must do what Gillingham did by hook or by crook.

    A single goal will probably be enough; any more will be a welcome bonus. But for now, 1-0 is the pick, and it simply has to be against the side that have lost 4 of their last 5 league games.

    PREDICTION:

    Bradford City 1 – 0 Harrogate Town
     
  3. vin weasel

    vin weasel Squad Player

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    Down at training today.
    Still no sign of Cook or Oliver.
    Stubbs and Smith training together and Chapman alone, all going through individual training due to the respective injuries.
    Rest of the squad in a training match.
    Looking very light on attacking options once again for this weekend.
     
    vladimir and Onside like this.
  4. Park bantam

    Park bantam Regular Starter
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    With Pointon Walker and Oduor at least there will be a bit of pace
     
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  5. Birky Bantam

    Birky Bantam Impact Sub
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    I doubt we'll see Cook again this month if Hughes was saying before the Grimsby game he would be out for a number of weeks. Oliver was said to be at least 4-6 weeks so we are looking late October at best for him.
     
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  6. JudgeMental

    JudgeMental Squad Player
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    Once again I'll not be attending.
    Expecting the same dinosaur tactics from Hughes doesn't fill me with expectations of entertainment.
    Hope I'm wrong and everyone in attendance sees a dominant attacking display and a comprehensive battering of Bettys boys.
     
    The Evidence and Onside like this.
  7. Bantam-in-Greece

    Bantam-in-Greece Squad Player
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    And that is why, in my opinion, Hughes should either bring in an experienced, out of contract striker on a short term deal (as Wrexham have done with Fletcher - and that's with Mullin on his way back), or give the kid Youmbi his chance. Anyone except Derbyshire!
     
  8. Ulysses S Grant

    Ulysses S Grant Squad Player
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    Gary Madine is a free agent
     
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  9. Gardscoigne

    Gardscoigne Impact Sub

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    Out injured for the season I believe
     
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  10. Ulysses S Grant

    Ulysses S Grant Squad Player
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    Scrap him off the list then. What's Kurtis Guthrie up to these days ?
     
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  11. SteveC

    SteveC Squad Player
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    Agree

    It worked a treat for us last year when we brought Clayton in, can only be a good thing
     
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  12. Bantam-in-Greece

    Bantam-in-Greece Squad Player
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    Or we could of course simply do nothing and persevere with the likes of Derbyshire!
     
  13. Hulmebantam

    Hulmebantam Squad Player
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    I would expect Chisom Afoka to start. Looked like he had a bit about him in his short period on the pitch against Grimsby.
     
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  14. Bumblebee_Tuna

    Bumblebee_Tuna Impact Sub

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    At the very least he'll 'bother' the back line. Looks raw but could occupy some defensive efforts freeing up some space for Oduor, Pointon (he'd best be starting) and Walker. Wishful thinking perhaps but I agree there were signs of life.
     
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  15. QCFC BANTAM

    QCFC BANTAM Regular Starter
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    What about a more experienced Kai Brunker?


    Can't believe I've just typed that.....
     
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  16. Loyalbantam

    Loyalbantam Squad Player
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    Is James Hanson a free agent?
     
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  17. derrickh100

    derrickh100 Fringe Player
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    Four goals in five games this season.
     
  18. Bumblebee_Tuna

    Bumblebee_Tuna Impact Sub

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    Please god don't resurrect the old 'he' s shit / no he's not' days of the message board.
     
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  19. WilsdenBantam

    WilsdenBantam Squad Player
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    Don’t think it’ll happen but I’d like to see what Youmbi is made of, wouldn’t it be something for two young lads to break into the squad. Would be something to actually praise Hughes for! It won’t happen though. Rashford I believe was due to go to Crewe on loan before he got a chance at United, the rest as they say is history.
     
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  20. NorthernMonkey

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    Did someone call? :eyes::eyes:
     

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