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Nicky Summerbee's name was read out to a smattering off boos but after his right foot made a City comeback and got the Bantams first home win of the season he departed to appaulse as Bradford City beat Presont North End 2-1
After edging Mark Paston out of the City side Alan Combe has declared his desire to keep the first team spot for the rest of the sesaon.
Two weeks ago we did not think much of Nicky Law's chances of being in the best job in football for this game against Preston and in the last fourteen days Law has signed the hated Nicky Summerbee and been beaten 5-0 in a thankfully behind closed doors game. So why the upturn in optimism?
Aside from the It can't get any worse angle the feeling is that Nicky Law has finally got the message about attacking teams, especially at Valley Parade, and that signing Summerbee is the indication of this. Summerbee is a brave signing for Law bucking the tends he has established previously being neither young or well liked.
Summerbee will make his debut on the right allowing Andy Gray to return to the forward line. One of Dean Windass or Michael Branch will make way as Law returns to 442. Jason Gavin losed out to allow Paul Heckingbottom back into midfield with his place being taken by either Lewis Emanuel or Ben Muirhead depending on just how adventurous Law feels.
Paul Evans hopes to return to the midfield but is still suffering a bruised foot.
Claude Davis, George Koumantarakis and Tyrone Mears all miss. Ricardo Fuller is much fancied to score by the bookies to avenge the red card he got for slapping Gus Ulhenbeek around the head in our last meeting at Valley Parade.
Nicky Law has blustered about the pressures of modern football suggesting that the react to the 4-0 loss to Sunderland was unjustified saying "You know in football you can't afford to lose games. There's been so much made of it, which is sad really, although that's the nature of the game but you have to look at the circumstances and we've had to do a lot of restructuring and strip the place right down before we can rebuild again."
Law continued "I've had to come in and pick up the pieces on the financial side and take it back to the beginning again. If you call that pressure then I feel it. I'm conscious and aware of it and I hate it. I don't like getting beaten at anything but it's a time thing and if we can get that first home win then we'll be okay. People get impatient and want success now but that just doesn't happen. With the players we've got, two or three years from now we're going to have a good squad, but it doesn't happen overnight."
Law concluded "This is unknown territory for a lot of them. We've got experienced players dotted in and out but some of them haven't been in the greatest of form and when you're struggling like that it's hard to help the others. You see other teams like Burnley who have just signed five players, Norwich have got Peter Crouch and Darren Huckerby, Derby are down the bottom and have just brought four players in. But we just haven't got the finances to do that."
Such talk masks the real problem with the Sunderland game, that the players were sent onto the field ill prepared with a formation that left holes for all to see and for the Rokermen to enjoy but two weeks and one lesson on Law is looking to get things back on track. One note is the change in goal from Mark Paston to Alan Combe, something the manager had planned after Sunderland but has no option with Paston suffering a dead leg.
Remember Danny Cadamarteri? No, neither do we. If we did recall the rotund Bantam striker we would be interested to know that he has had a minor operation on the knee that has been troubling him for the past year and we might be keen to find out, as Danny says, "Hopefully it will be four or five weeks from then when I can start again."
Preston North End have a private war against Bradford City and like the shades of skin in Do The Right Thing it is almost imperceptible to everyone outside of the North West town. The departed Gus Ulhenbeek gets most ire for his incident with Richard Cresswell last season but Michael Branch can expect some stick for turning down the Lillywhites to come to City while Paul Evans is feared in a way that David Beckham fears Roberto Carlos in the Pepsi adverts after the Welshman scored form the half way line for Brentford against PNE some years back.
We, on the other hand, have little to say about the affable overachievers.
The Nicky Summerbee charm offensive to turn around City fans who still hold a grudge about the player cheating against us while with Sunderland has started with Dean Windass chipping in "We've got a very young squad here and I'm sure Nicky will help give the lads more confidence. Perhaps the service has not been there as much as we'd have liked it to and his crosses will give the likes of me and Michael Branch more to work with."
At BfB we thought we would pitch in and so came up with the following slogans for the rebranding of Nicky Summerbee...
Nicky Summerbee started his City career in fine style by setting up a goal for right wing rival Ben Muirhead in the first minute of the reserves game with Rotherham United at Millmoor. Muirhead, who played on the left, returned the favour for Summerbee in the second half but the new boy fired wide. Not firing wide was Simon Francis who bagged a spot kick to restore City's lead after Hoskins had scored for the home side. Richie Barker equalised late on.
Also worth mentioning is that City's penalty came from a foul on Nicky Summerbee. BfB leaves readers to draw conclusions their own from that.
Gareth Edds has pulled out of Australian u23's game with Turkey for "personal reasons".
It is with abundant pride that we say that our columnist Mark Douglas, he of University of Warwick publication The Warwick Boar as well as this site, has once again been nominated for The Guardian Student Sports Writer of the Year.
Simon Francis, Paul Evans and new signing Nicky Summerbee form up a strong City second string team that faces Rotherham reserves tonight. Lewis Emanuel and Ben Muirhead both are included in the squad and can press for places in the starting eleven while youngsters Tom Penford and Peter Folkes are both pressing for inclusion in the match day squad.
Paul Reid and Danny Forrest, both recovering from injuries that have ruled them out all season, are included in the squad to face the junior high ballers also while Aaron O'Malley will look to get in more practice with the first team ahead of what will be his football league debut on Saturday should Alan Combe and Mark Paston not recover for the Preston North End game.
Bantam boss in waiting David Wetherall has called on the rest of teh squad to perform better at Valley Parade saying "Our attitude has got to be chests out, chins up and get on with it. There is no point in sulking, To lose 4-0 at home in our last game was a great disappointment to everyone but you cannot go into the next one still nursing a massive hangover. Home form is something we've got to sort out. It is similar to the back end of last season when we were better away. I don't know if it's the weight of expectation or that we are a better team soaking up pressure and hitting teams on the break. But we have to rectify the problem."
Wetherall continued "The fans turn up week in, week out and deserve to watch better stuff from us than they have so far. They love to see goals and see us have a go. We know we've got to do better. The Sunderland game was over as a contest within half an hour and you expect the reaction there was but I agree with the chairman that there is no need for anyone to panic."
City are hoping to have Paul Evans, who has been out with a bruised right foot, back from injury by the weekend while Mark Bower, who has missed the season to date, is due to return to full training next week.
Stand hushed for QPR boss Ian Holloway, master of the metaphor.
Gareth Edds is in the Australia u23 squad for his countries game against Turkey at Inonu Stadium in the styled bubbling cauldron of football that is Istanbul. The game takes place on Wednesday, 10 September 2003.
At 32 Lee Sharpe has retired owing to back problems he has suffered while playing in Iceland. Sharpe did good and bad things at City and provided BfB with some good copy but the overwhealiming feeling at hearing the news that Sharpe has quit the game so young is that the enormous talent the man showed at Manchester United has, by in large, been wasted.
Lee Sharpe was one of the fourteen.
Nicky Law cast an eye over his ailing strike force and suggested that recent developments could see the Michael Branch/Dean Windass partnership broken up. Law said "We need to sort out the strike partnership and who that's going to be. There are three or four of them fit now and the opportunity is there to earn a place. We've not been creating enough chances but hopefully that will change when we get Nicky in. Then there will be no excuses."
Danny Forrest's return to fitness coupled with Nicky Summerbee's arrival freeing Andy Gray for attacking duty gives Law more striking option although frankly Windass and Branch have been trying to live on scraps all season and even the precious Rooney would have done well to register for City this term with some of the service afforded the front men.
City lost 5-0 to Middlesborough in a closed doors friendly. Bad news was that Wayne Jacobs pick up a knock; good news was that so did Jason Gavin. Nicky Summerbee played the full game and is set to appear for the Reserves against Rotherham United on Tuesday night. Robert Wolleaston and Luke Cornwall started as City's front pair while Peter Folkes got first game with City's seniors.
Meanwhile Summerbee has explained how his attempts to cream more money from the back end of his career has seen him falling out of favour at previous clubs. Summerbee said "From being at Sunderland it has all been a bit of a nightmare. I went to Bolton where I could have stayed for longer but I wanted to be a Bosman at the end of it - and that was a big mistake. I've had three years of it now and been at a number of clubs. But for someone like myself who's got a family there is no security. You have to go wherever the work is and, apart from the top players, whatever wage you were on you've got to expect less than that next time because there's so much competition." At this point you are forced to wonder what sort of offer Geoffrey Richmond made Summerbee in the summer of madness that saw the likes of Ian Nolan pick up £12,000 a week. Had the then Sunderland winger joined City then far from worrying about his family security he could have been, like Ashley ward, set for life.
Footballers often say they let their play do the talking and in which case Summerbee needs to cross the ball like the Gettysburg address if he is to win over City fans. Summerbee started vaguely making the right noises saying "I'm so delighted that Bradford have given me a couple of years. I've not got that uncertainty hanging over me anymore and I can concentrate on doing what I do best. I guarantee that I'll put balls in the box with no messing about."
City's annual keeper crisis has begun with both Mark Paston and Alan Combe injured. Youth Team stopper Aaron O'Malley will play in the closed door's friendly with Middlesborough. Nicky Summerbee also joins the squad as do, for first appearances with the seniors this term, Tom Penford and Peter Folkes.
Nicky Law completed the signing of Nicky Summerbee on a two year deal today some three years after the Bantams first tried to buy the player. Summerbee famously thought about his move to City too long during the summer of 2000 and Geoffrey Richmond pulled the plug on a £1.5m deal. Now after winning promotion to the Premiership with Leicester CIty last season the one time Manchester City winger joins the Bantams.
Summerbee's signing should finally free up Andy Gray for attacking duties although many would suggest that Summerbee duplicates the abilities that Ben Muirhead posses. Law suggested that Summerbee could expect to go straight into the side to play Preston in a weeks time saying "We are delighted to have someone of such proven quality and we are sure he is going to make a big difference to the team."
In one game in the Premiership four years ago Summerbee angered Bantams fans by feigning injury and diving so his appearance in claret and amber will most likely not be well received, the player probably running second to Kevin Gray in list of least liked opponent, nevertheless his signing does show that Nicky Law intends to do something about the lack of attacking options at the club however Ben Muirhead and his supporters may suggest that he had the options to do that within the squad.
Summerbee takes up City's number nine shirt. The comment here is about a team so goal shy that a winger is now wearing Bobby Campbell's number.
A meeting of Premiership club at St Mary's in Southampton today decided that teams who play in striped shirts will have to feature solid colours on the back of the designs in the top flight from the next shirt on. Newcastle United and Southampton are currently effected as, should we get back, Bradford City would be.
Peter Atherton has ruled himself out of the City team until the middle of November. The injury hit defender said "Each time I set myself targets and count down the days I'm then disappointed and told it's going to be longer. It's very frustrating because I was expecting a bit more progress. By now I thought I'd be on an exercise bike or be able to drive again. I can't do any sort of cardio work and I'm very restricted what movements I can make. I definitely want to be playing again well before December."
There is a school of thought that on Saturday City were hammered by a team destined for the Premiership but Kevin Kilbane, who left Sunderland for Everton this week, does not agree with the likes of Nicky Law who say this. Kilbane thinks that Sunderland will not return to the top flight for some time.
Amid generally backing Nicky Law Gordon Gibb has stated that he believes that the performances City are putting in are "unacceptable". After a week of losing Gibb said "I was (more) disappointed with the Gillingham result because that was one of the games we needed to win. That was a lower point for me than going down to two exceptionally strong sides. Has our opinion of Nicky changed on the basis of the last two results (West Ham and Sunderland)? No. But were Gillingham and the Darlington cup exit unacceptable? Yes."
Gibb continued "It is not a panic situation and we aren't in an insurmountable position. Fans pay good money to be in the position to make knee-jerk reactions. But as a board that's something we must not allow ourselves to do. Home performances haven't been of a sufficiently high standard and that's what we are focusing on in the next week but we've just played two pretty good teams in the space of four days. It was the equivalent of playing Leicester and Portsmouth last year and they weren't half as fancied as Sunderland and West Ham."
Tellingly Gibb edged back from the two year deal Nicky Law has in front of him saying "Nicky has not been made a tangible offer. We've just begun the process of formulating the structure of a contract with the idea of him staying at the club for an extra two years on an incentivised basis."
Gibb concluded "We all agree the standard of entertainment at home matches has not been high enough. That's something we have passed on to Nicky and he is man enough to take that on the chin. Fans pay good money to have their opinions. Unfortunately, myself and the board are charged with making rational sense of all this. I would just ask that our real supporters stick with us, continue to pay their money and we will try to reward them with better performances, hopefully starting against Preston."
Gibb is respected in this corner of football because of his time in the game and his forthright opinions on it but using the phrase "real supporters" and suggesting that fan's views are irrational is a misunderstanding of the situation. This is not a case of fan's acting like seven year olds who want to see ten men lined up in attacking positions, this is supporters venting at the sight of players being sent onto the field in a state of confusion after being given a way to play that they obviously were not able to do and, to compound the problem, Nicky Law pointing the finger of blame at the players and not taking it in the chin.
Law made what could be described as a rookie mistake on Saturday after four years managing football teams and that causes one to worry that it was not an error born out of inexperience but rather lack of ability in this area. On Saturday BfB said that we would not sack Law today but that he could not go on making obvious and appalling errors and that we were unable to see how he would avoid making those errors in the near future. Law comments after the game which amounted to a suggestion that should be bring Ben Muirhead on to try get back into the game at 3-0 then it was likely that the score would go to "five or six" is incongruous with the Ben Muirhead I saw tracking back and tackling towards the end of last season and the start of this against Norwich City and I am uncomfortable with a manager who's judgement seems that far off.
Gibb is right when talks of the board's responsibility to maintain a steady hand and he is right to publicly back his manager who deserves second chances after doing much for this club but one hopes that should the meek surrender of Saturday be witnessed once more the board note what they have said to Law in regards to the need to entertain and get results at home and see if Law changes his approach to the game, something he seems incapable of doing this season.
Benito Carbone has signed for Serie A side Parma. Parma are not the force they once were in Italian football and no longer have the pulling power that once saw them fielding Tino Asprilla and Tomas Brolin otherwise BfB is sure that like Nicky Law they would have ignored Carbone and gone for Andy Tod.
City's game with Millwall will be played at 5:35 on Saturday 29 November, 2003 to allow for TV coverage and to give the peace loving Millwall fans plenty of time to stroll along Manningham after an afternoon drinking and show what good ambassadors they are for that area of London which, of course, returned Britain's first ever BNP councillor.
Jason Gavin will face his former club Middlesbrough in a closed doors friendly on Friday at Boro's training ground in Hurworth. One can only hope he can be persuaded to stay.
In a way that defies belief Nicky Law has blamed the players for the 4-0 defeat by Sunderland when it was Law's ham fisted tactics that allowed the visitors to run away with the game in the first quarter of an hour. Shamefully Law said "A lot of people have got to look at themselves and their performances and make sure that doesn't happen again. I didn't see too many positives out there. They had it rammed home to them at half time and again after the game and the players were disappointed, as we all are. When you're 3-0 down in half-an-hour that's the time to be strong. It's easy to go the other way but you've got to take it on the chin and go again. To a certain extent we stopped the rot in the second half but we were still under the cosh but it's no good sitting there with heads down feeling dejected. We're aware of the deficiencies and where we fell down and only we can put it right. We've got to make sure we do that for when we play Preston in two weeks' time which will be another tough game."
Law continued "We've got two weeks to evaluate what we need and maybe there is a need to go into the loan market to try and make us better. After a bad run you naturally want to put a stop to it rather than let it fester, but I think that two weeks gives us a fair amount of time to put some work in."
With the exception of Jason Gavin I struggle to think of a single player on Saturday who did put in a bad performance. Wayne Jacobs and Gareth Edds did not leave massive gaps at the back, Law's tactics did. Michael Standing was not to blame for the soft centred midfield that Julio Arce waltzed through, Law's playing Simon Francis on the right wing and the former Villa man inside was.
Law says "People have got to look at themselves". I would say that Law needs to take responsibility and not try shift it onto the playing squad.
It is to be hoped that Nicky Law found Gordon Gibb before Gordon Gibb found a shredder as the City boss indicated he would sign the contract offered him "I'm very keen to sign a new contract and hopefully it can all be sorted out soon. Julian Rhodes has been on holiday and I think it will be a case of him, the chairman and myself sitting down together and ironing things out then."
City were humiliated 4-0 by Sunderland at Valley Parade and it was Nicky Law's fault.
The worst team in Premiership history roll into Valley Parade on the back of two straight wins that the Bantams would kill for at the moment with Nicky Law wondering what this Sunderland side are made of. A few years ago the smart manager would have played the defensive unit and hoped that the home crowd would push in a few goals but City fan's demand results even in demanding times and the two wins in twenty games will be enough to suggest that the men from the Stadium of Light are there for the taking.
A host of faces suggest themselves to Law to spark up his forward line with Danny Forrest, Luke Cornwall and Kevin Sanasy all failing to take advantage of a game with Huddersfield Reserves to press their case. Dean Windass is nursing a Repka based injury and may vacate the way for Andy Gray to return to the forward line leaving Ben Muirhead to rampage in front of the faithful on the right wing. Paul Heckingbottom, who started his career at Roker Park, is expected to ward of Lewis Emanuel on the left side of midfield in what will be a central quartet with more balance.
Jason McAtter returns from injury but many of the faces that struck fear into the soul are gone leaving a shell of the team that once was Sunderland. Expect applause for Michael Proctor, so successful in his loan period last term.
Nicky Law has confirmed that Premiership clubs have taken a look at City's keeper Mark Paston even though the number 13 has only played five games for the Bantams. The Premiership transfer window closes this weekend and Law stated "All of a sudden, there is a lot of interest in Mark from Premiership clubs and I think that stands us in good stead, the club won't panic now and let him go for £200,000 or £300,000 on a panic sell. It would have to be right and the money would have to be right and that's obviously pleasing from my point of view, knowing that we aren't going to lose him for the wrong reasons."
Many people are comparing Paston to Mark Schwarzer who came to Valley Parade in 1996 and left to Middlesbrough £1.5m three months later and in three months time if the New Zealander continues to impress then a move in the January window could be a possibility. Talk of Schwarzer confuses the situation though with BfB's mind going back to Marco Sas who impressed all in his first months at Valley Parade and was subject of a £1m bid from Leicester City that the club laughed away. Three months after that and Sas struggled to get into the first team.
Regardless such interest is encouraging for City and for Paston but perhaps more importantly Nicky Law takes credit for finding and recruiting the player who was in demand. Law has many critics rounding on him but should Paston leave in January for a million or so then the manager would be able to point to hard evidence of what he has done for the club.
Nicky Law has spoken with admiration for former Bantam Michael Proctor and revealed that Sunderland were willing to left the young striker join City. Law said "I just hope he's not playing and doesn't get on, so he can't do what he did here and put the ball in the back of the net. Michael is a player that I do admire and I was obviously disappointed at the time that he came that we couldn't afford to bring in him, despite him being available to us."
Moving servers this weekend so if you can not see us for a while, that is why.
Gordon Gibb has responded to criticism over City's decision not to replace Ashley Ward and hinted at a lack of communication between the board of and the manager Nicky Law. Gibb said "Strikers were a priority for us over the summer and all our targets were achieved, we have six strikers who the board believe are good enough for this level of football. Admittedly a deal was available to offset some of the short-term financial burden of Ward's contract and the board took advantage. Only one name has been forwarded for our attention and both myself and the rest of the board made a quick decision to back the proposal. Unfortunately, for reasons unbeknown to us, this did not take place."
While it is considered a good thing Gibb is a much more withdrawn chairman than Geoffrey Richmond was it is a worry that the two senior levels of the club do not seem to be communicating on this issue or on other such as Nicky Law's contract.
As an aside in a straw poll at BfB on why City were not scoring enough or creating enough not once was the fact that Ashley Ward did not play for the club brought forward as a reason.
Nicky Law is reported to be on a short list of six names for the vacant job at West Ham with the five other names being Nigel Winterburn, Paul Goddard, Oldham's Iain Dowie, Man City coach Stuart Pearce and Hull City's Peter Taylor. Like Taylor Law has never played for the Hammers but in comparison with all save the Hull boss Law's CV is impressive with his promotion at Chesterfield and the stability he has brought to Bradford City standing out. However Law's brand of football, something he would say he is hamstrung into by resources at City, would not be appreciated at Upton Park.
Law is out of contract at the end of the season although the club have started talks with the manager with Gordon Gibb saying "We offered Nicky a new two-year deal on August 12 but have not yet had any feedback. We made it clear to him at the time that the offer was by no means final and that we would expect him to come to us with his views in the near future. As yet we have heard nothing. We will be seeking to initiate contact with Nicky after the game with Sunderland. We look forward to hearing his reflections from the first set of proposals."
Law is reported to have been offered an increased deal which is incentives based and thus offers a lower basic salary much like the players are on.
Continuing the theme of melancholia City's Reserves lost 2-1 at Huddersfield despite a Ben Muirhead goal after six minutes.
Nicky Law marshalled everything he had to stop the Trevor Brooking Mmmmmachine but still The Bantams were beaten 1-0 at West Ham.
Nicky Law has sung the praises the side that lost to West Ham saying "I think if you take Defoe out, then it was a pretty even game. The players have done themselves proud - they've come off and can look in the mirror because they couldn't have given any more, I don't think there was a great deal of difference between the teams to be honest. They put us under a lot of pressure but in the last 15 minutes of the first half and the second half we started to pass the ball and I think the players started to realise they had nothing to fear."
Dean Windass went off injured after Tomas Repka's challenge last night and may miss the weekend game with Sunderland which would force Nicky Law to re-employ Andy Gray as a striker and put Ben Muirhead on to the right hand side of midfield solving the problem with the woefully unbalanced midfield.
Regardless of this Law fumed at Repka saying "It was a diabolical tackle and he's caught him right in the middle of the calf, and it was that bad that he had to come off."
Meanwhile Dean Windass talked about the last time he met Repka, in a West Ham/Middlesborough Premiership game when the Hammer did similar "It was probably the same challenge coming through the back of me but that time the referee had the guts to send him off. It was a bad tackle and he did the same to Andy Gray soon after but the referee bottled it and never sent him off. We created three or four good chances and obviously Jermain Defoe scored a good goal. Apart from that we dominated the second half. The gaffer has drilled it into us to pass the ball around and there was a lot of young kids out there for us. But they did brilliantly."
BfB's Rick Micallef is a year older and like Mark Paston and David Wetherall before him, is a student now and feels the pinch as he explains in his article sometimes football should come with a money back guarantee.
Bradford City go to Third Division Huddersfield Town in the reserve league this afternoon with Patrick Bannister, Danny Forrest, Luke Cornwall and Kevin Sanasy all hoping to get goals that suggest they fill in for injured Dean Windass at the weekend against Sunderland.
As with Joe McCarthy In the end it will be Nicky Law's statements that damn him and his reaction to comments on his tactics for the 1-0 home loss to Gillingham are no different. Said Law "We do struggle against teams that get behind the ball because we haven't got the kind of player that can open teams up."
One might ask that considering that the entire playing squad of the club were contracted under Nicky Law why do we not have such a player if Law wants one? Obviously it is not easy to get Chris Waddle on next to nothing in a world where Paul Merson plays for Walsall and Waddle played for us it is not impossible if the will is there. Law suggestion, that we are forced to play in a certain way by the restrictions of the squad, simply will not do because this squad was hand picked by the manager.
Nevertheless Law's brand of packing the midfield with defensive players works better away from home giving the Bantams a fair chance of getting something from West Ham. Law says "This is a great opportunity for us. We're away from home so we can go out there as underdogs and give a good show of ourselves. We were disappointed on Saturday but so were West Ham to lose at Rotherham. They were apparently going to walk through the league and now they are finding out how difficult it is. It's a very tough division and every game is different. West Ham will come at us but that suits the way we play. We're better when teams force the play on us."
City's game at Coventry City on September 6th has been called off owing to international call-ups. The game, which will see The Banatms face Claus Jorgensen for the first time, will now be played on Wednesday, November 5, at 7.45pm.
Nicky Law should have changed the team that won at Cardiff for the home defeat by Gillingham but it is the side that beat the Welshmen that is capable of getting a good result at Upton Park. As with the trip to the Welsh capital Law should try hit the home side on the break and is allowed to sit back and try counter attack which, ironically, is precisely what he was not allowed to do on Saturday. Football managers, tough life eh?
The Bantams have no fresh injury worries although Danny Forrest is a few days nearer fitness and may get a run out considering some people are of the opinion Windass is not working. Paul Reid has been ruled out longer term with a problem with his toes.
Trevor Brooking C.B.E. or Sir Trevor Brookley as Pele called him, has taken over as Hammer's boss after Glenn Roeder was dumped following "The Board however feel that following relegation to the First Division the Club's best chance of returning to the Premiership at the first attempt would be enhanced by a change of manager."
Michael Carrick is expected to return for the Hammers and Bantams fans should reserve special vitriol for Matthew Kilgannon who has signed on loan form Leeds United for three months, although to be frank the general emotions towards Leeds seem to be pity at the moment. Steve Lomas also misses.
Nicky Law is looking for a striker for City saying "We need that someone who does nothing all game and then just pops up to knock one in but goalscorers don't come cheap. We've got a list of a few we are looking at but a lot of them are out of our reach because we just haven't got that finance anymore." Law makes a valid point, the Bantams do not have the resources to attract a player who can score goals out of nothing but such a signing is not the manager's only option.
Law's side against Gillingham did not lose for the want of a goal scorer, it lost for the want of attacking commitment and the Bantams could field Michael Owen in the number nine shirt and still not score until there is more of an effort at sustained pressure.
Meanwhile BfB columnists Mark Douglas takes a look at the City forward line and says Windass is not working.
In case you missed it in the last couple or stories our own Mark Douglas has penned a few lines on Dean Windass saying Windass is not working and raising points about Nicky Law's approach the games like Saturday's defeat to Gillingham.
Beating Cardiff away was never going to be the same assignment as a home game to Gillingham. So why did Nicky Law not see that as City lost 1-0 to Gillingham.
Bradford City's preparations for today's game with Gillingham were hampered by boss Nicky Law being off sick during the week. Law is understood to have missed work on Wednesday.
Nicky Law faces a dilemma. Last week the Bantams beat Cardiff City and impressed all with dogged defensiveness. That dogged defensiveness was the order of the day in Wales but back in Bradford the locals will want to see the stunning goals of last week without the nine men behind the ball tactics that brought us defeat to Darlington. Does Law rejig his team to get more attacking or stick with the winning formula?
Law is boosted by the return of Danny Forrest who's half hour in the reserves suggests that he might be being kept to an appearance today. Mark Paston is struggling with an injury and Alan Combe stands by to make his second Bantams debut as may Jason Gavin who has declared himself fit saying "I don't feel any problems with it now and training was fine. I'd like to be in with a chance for the Gillingham game although it's going to be difficult to get into the side because they played so well last week."
As always City must keep a close eye on Marlon King who, as regular BfB readers will know, we consider the best player in this division. King returns to the injury hit Gills squad along with Rod Wallace and Kevin James, the latter two needing lacing match fitness.
Gordon Gibb has addressed the need, or perhaps lack of need, for a replacement for Ashley Ward saying "Names have been bandied about and Nicky is always up and down the M1 and M62 looking for new talent. Nothing has yet been discussed at boardroom level although he has got eyes everywhere. The problem last year was that we didn't have enough goalscorers in the top 15 of the division. All the successful teams seemed to have two or three in that list. It's encouraging that we are already seeing goals being scored from different areas."
City are being linked with Newcastle United's promising reserve striker Calvin Zola-Makongo, a player who is certainly worth having in CM4, by respectable Magsite nufc.com. Sheffield Wednesday are also interested. Less than reliable sources have linked City with a loan move for Aston Villa's Ian Ormondroyd-a-like Peter Crouch.
Using all of his fun day out at the theme park experience Gordon Gibb has pressed Nicky Law for a more attacking formation saying "We have to give our home support a decent level of entertainment. Gillingham will be perfectly happy with the scoreline as it is at the moment. If it is still the same come 4.50pm tomorrow I'm sure they will be highly delighted. They are a difficult side to breakdown as Sheffield United will testify. We don't tend to perform particularly well against teams that sit back and this will be a reflection of how far we have come forward."
It is true that City are a better defending team than an attacking one and that Law's teams play best soaking up pressure and hitting on the counter but Gibb is right to press for more. Valley Parade gets very empty when the crowd are not behind the Bantams but can be exceedingly intimidating for visitors when we are revved up and the best way to rev the BantamFan is to attack. In the name of a decent atmosphere that will boost the squad Law needs to heed Gibb.
Mark Paston has spoken at length about City after his sudden elevation from student looking for a club to man of the match in Cardiff "It's a bit of a blur really because everything has happened so fast but I'm happy with the way I'm playing at the moment. You are surrounded by quality players and that's what I came over here for. I wanted to improve my game and you learn from playing with good teams and good coaches. It gives you a huge amount of confidence when the team is playing well like we did at Cardiff. We showed a lot of guts there and it was a big performance. Everyone enjoys playing alongside each other and there was a really good buzz about the team."
Paston continued "It's hard to gauge from over here exactly what is being said but I get the feeling it's quite big news, which is a bit embarrassing. I did an interview for New Zealand TV during the week. I wouldn't say I'm a celebrity just yet but people are taking notice of what's happening with me. That's nice to know because obviously rugby is so big there. I know it's quite frustrating playing football in New Zealand because you don't get any coverage at all. Normally they will show the highlights from the Premiership every Sunday but apart from that the game there doesn't get much attention."
On his chances in International football Paston said "It's definitely a goal of mine to get back in the international team and push Michael Utting for the No 1 spot but that's another step. My main goal here is to keep playing well for Bradford and hopefully New Zealand selection will follow on."
Paston had been brought in as back up for Alan Combe but has taken the number one shirt from the former Dundee United keeper "It's good that Combey is fit again. I think there is going to be a battle all season for the keeper's jersey which is certainly healthy for the team. The one that's playing best at the time is in the team. That's how it should be but the main thing is that we try to get more clean sheets. If you are doing that, it goes a long way towards winning games."
Bradford City and Burnley are scrapping it out over Newcastle United's young midfielder Bradley Orr.
20 year-old midfielder Orr has never made a first team appearance for Newcastle but is well thought of at St. James Park, although one would struggle to find a Premiership reserve who does not come with the tag "Well thought of". Expect movement to either Valley Parade or Turf Moor before this weekend.
City's reserves lost the opening game of the new season 2-1 at home to Stoke City with Frazer McHugh getting the Bantams goal with an impressive strike from 25 yards after his overlap from right back. The impressive Kris Commons pulled the strings for Stoke who won through goals by Lee Parsons and Lawrence Hall although the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the return of Danny Forrest who played a half hour.
Jake Wright, Tom Penford, Daniel Ellis, Kevin Sanasy and Peter Folkes all started the season step up from junior to reserve level with Penford impressing in a substitute appearance when he came on for trialist Deon Meikle of Eastwood Town.
With the debate on Nicky Law and tactics behind us Dean Windass underlined the Bantam's managers good points saying "The gaffer has been brilliant with us because everybody was disappointed after the Darlington game. Nobody needed to tell us how badly we had played but the chairman had a few strong words to say and rightly so. It's vital for Bradford City and teams who aren't financially as well off as everybody else to have a little cup run. So the chairman is within his rights to have a go but we've got to stick together because there aren't a lot of us and we've got a few naive young kids. I thought the way we picked ourselves up against Cardiff was magnificent.
Windass, who was himself linked to Cardiff at one point, continued "You couldn't fault the overall work ethic on Saturday right from the goalkeeper through to the two front strikers. We've got to take the positives out of it and in three matches we haven't been beaten over 90 minutes."
Windass concluded by talking about his goals or lack of saying "I know I'll get goals so I'm not too bothered that I haven't scored yet. If I play like I have been then the goals will come but if I can create goals for others I'll be just as happy. I set up Andy Gray's out-of-this-world goal on Saturday so that will do me."
Wayne Jacobs aside Mark Bower has been at City longer than anyone and in the seven or so seasons he has been at Valley Parade he has seen the team come and go from the Premiership and been left as the senior player after everyone else was sacked in administration. Despite all these events the home grown central defender thinks that this is the key season for City having said "It is a very important season for the club, improving on last year has to be the target, but if we start well in the first few weeks then we can aim for the top half. It would be nice to keep away from the relegation zone. We've had a few eventful ones over the last seven years I've been here and a positive one wouldn't go amiss."
City Reserve play Stoke City tonight as the second string get back into the Pontin's Holidays League Premier Division and the likes of Tom Kearney, Luke Cornwall, Robert Wolleaston, Frazer McHugh, Michael Standing, Alan Combe and Danny Forrest are all in line to play. City's reserves might be an interesting watch this year after three mind numbing years of seeing Premiership side crush the miniBantams. Impressive players from the juniors such as Daniel Ellis, Daniel Ekoku and Jake Wright are expected to be blooded earlier this term as the games in this league may be more winnable and less soul destroying than the annual Liverpool thrashing was. Tonight Peter Folkes and Kevin Sanasy are expected to press for a place in the first team squad.
Season ticket holders get in for nothing but other people pay £3.00 for adults and £1.00 for concessions. You have to wonder who pays this £3? Is there a rash of people in Bradford who will not watch the first team but think that £3 is a good night out to watch the level below or is it simply a tax on Premiership scouts coming to cast an eye over our kids.
We are moving servers over the next few days and the site might go away for a while. If it does go, get a coffee, have some pie, watch The West Wing and come back later when we should be back up and running.
Nicky Law has been offered a new two year deal in the big chair at Valley Parade by chairman Gordon Gibb after a week of negotiations. The deal which Gibb has offered is believed to be heavily incentive based in the same way the players are paid to win. Speaking about the deal Gibb said "Nicky Law deserves a great deal of credit for the start we have made to the season, I did not expect the side to have gelled quite so well as quickly as they have but we are all delighted. There have been so many changes to the playing squad that I have been asking supporters to be patient because I understand things rarely just fall into place but Nicky and his team have done terrifically well. We have started negotiations over a new contract with Nicky but there is no rush to get that completed because his current deal does not finish until the summer. We sat down last Tuesday before the Carling Cup match and we told him that we wanted him to stay and that we were offering him a new two-year deal. Nicky will now go away and think about it but we hope he will sign because we want him to stay and continue the fine job he has started. We have been pleased with his efforts, he has re-built the team and his efforts have put us in a stronger position."
The offer of a two year contract by Gibb amounts to a confirmation from the chairman that the manager City got from Chesterfield has the approval of the current regime having been appointed by the previous one. There has been speculation over the past week that Gibb would replace Law with "his own man" and that that man would be Ronnie Moore of Rotherham who is understood to covert the post at Valley Parade. Stuart McCall's name had also been mentioned.
City's reserves start the first season out of the FA Premiership Reserve League firing line at home to Stoke City on Wednesday night and Danny Forrest is set to make his season debut. Forrest, who it is said has been told by the club that he has to bulk up after his lightweight game was muscled out at the end of last season, said "We haven't been given details of the squad yet but I can only hope that I'm included because I'm ready for games. I was very pleased to get through the whole youth-team match on Saturday. I felt fit throughout and had no problems at all."
Nicky Law is reported to be set to sign someone before the weekend game with Gillingham with one whisper being that he will move for Leeds United midfielder Jacob Burns who is understood to have been freed by the Elland Road side. Other speculation has it that Law will try sign a player on loan.
BfB drinking partner Richard and his wife Angela are today proud parents of one 7lb 11oz baby girl named Lara Grace. Congratulations all.
Local boy made good Danny Forrest may make the bench against Gillingham next weekend after coming through a youth team game with York which the Bantam kids won 1-0 with a goal from young Sean Clifford.
Forrest may play against York Reserves in the week and should he come through that he would be available for Saturday.
Some managers have a player who is more than just a favourite, indeed in some cases is not a favourite at all, but is more of an avatar. Such a player becomes the representative of the manager on the field. If Nicky Law has one in this Bradford City team then it is surely Paul Evans.
Evans, at times unloved by fans and manager alike with people questioning his basic abilities but no one questioning his commitment to the cause, spoke for Law and his often defensive strategies saying "Everyone can talk about the goals by Andy and Lewis and they were outstanding. But for me, the block that Jakes put in on the line in the second half showed just how much we wanted it and there were two or three others going for the ball as well. But that's what you've got to do if you want to win these sort of matches. We knew we'd be under pressure. Cardiff is going to be a hard place to come but I think we might have played them at just the right time. Thankfully Tuesday was gone and this was a great game to play in. With me being Welsh I was desperate to play and I enjoyed every minute of it."
Nicky Law has clearly been stung by Gordon Gibb, us and lots of other City fans questioning his tactical abilities and has put a cheeky swipe at Cardiff boss Lennie Lawrence about fielding his new £1m signing from Rotherham Alan Lee. Law revealed that Lee's presence had made the Bluebirds predictable "We were all pleased when we saw he was playing. Lee's a good player and puts himself about but you know what you're getting with him. David Wetherall will play out there until tomorrow morning and handle that. It suits him more than facing two little quick guys."
A stung Law continued "Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon when you have a little blip in the week and a poor result. That doesn't help and I'd rather people be positive about things than negative. We lost on penalties, so at the end of the day that's three games we've now gone unbeaten. If we can perform like we did at Cardiff for the rest of the season then we might have a chance of proving a few people wrong and staying in this league."
When asked about Lewis Emanuel's 30 yarder Law simply replied "Good coaching"
Roland Harris went to Cardiff asking what does Nicky Law know about tactics? A lashed strike from Andy Gray and a stunner from Lewis Emanuel gave him an answer as City beat Cardiff 2-0 at Ninnian Park.
Bobby Davison is singing the praises of two of his charges in the juniors saying "If you ask Danny Ellis to come in and do a job, certainly in the Reserves or the odd game in the First Team, then he won't let you down. He has the toughness and awareness to make the step up and has just got to keep that going. [Ellis, Jake Wright and Peter Folkes] are learning their trade and are looking very good. I would say that none of them are too far away now."
This website is A Cabin Pressure Website
City have no money but have decided that football transfers are about recruitment and this the what BCFCHR have been up to...
For next season City have signed:
In 2002/2003 City let go:
In 2002/2003 City signed:
Last season City signed:
Since the summer City have let go:
After going out of the Premeirship City have let go:
City are not expect to break their record signing any time soon or perhaps ever.
Then take a look at BfB's Championship Manager Bantams section.
BfB readers voted for nine former City players into The Boy From Brazil Bradford City Hall Of Fame. The nine who were voted in are...