It is my aim to get a fans perspective from every club we play this season, and Bradford fan Jamie Allen was decent enough to answer a few questions on what we can expect from the Bantams tomorrow night. Follow Jamie @plymkrprss
1) You had a ridiculously good season last year, so what are the aims for this year?
Last season was indeed ridiculous! Bradford fans have endured so many years of what can only be described as unadulterated abuse as we scrambled around the bottom of League Two, barely clinging onto Football League status, languishing in our own self pity and dreaming about the past glories of 1999 and promotion to the Premier League.
Last season was completely surreal, two trips to Wembley and promotion to League One after the demolition of Northampton was one of the greatest seasons I have witnessed by far. As good as last season was, I think it’s important to be realistic about our chances this year but with the players we have I think we do have the quality to make the step up. I would say a safe, mid table finish would be our goal this year, although there has been talk of a potential push for a second promotion.
But like I said, we need to be realistic.
2) Do you have the right manager?
In our calamitous fall from grace I think we’ve had just about as many managers as Chelsea have had since Abramovich took over. If you looked at some of the names on our list of past managers since 2003, there are some big names in and amongst them (Bryan Robson, Colin Todd, Stuart McCall, Peter Taylor, Peter Jackson) and for various reasons none managed to stop the rot.
Phil Parkinson has been here for two full seasons now and along with his backroom staff, he has developed a squad of players who have gelled well and play together as a team, something which we have lacked during our time in League Two. Continuity is key now and the proof was in the pudding last season, I believe Parky can take us forward up League One and beyond.
3) Which player should we keep an eye on and why?
I think most fans would point you towards Nahki Wells here and in some ways I would agree, he’s a pacey forward with an eye for goal and his finishing caught the attention of several teams over the summer, with Peterborough making a bid for him in an attempt to replace Dwight Gayle.
However, whilst Wells is a very important player for us, I would point you in the direction of Nathan Doyle. His quality in the centre of midfield was paramount to our success last season and alongside Captain Gary Jones, the pair formed an impressive partnership. Doyle is not only robust defensively, putting tackles in and winning possession; he also has the presence of mind to put his foot on the ball and find the right pass.
Other players I would suggest keeping an eye on would be Gary Jones, Andrew Davies and big, Jimmy Hanson.
4) Which player is stealing a living and why?
It’s difficult to say really, the entire squad produced so much last year that it would be difficult to single one player out. However, I would have to go with front-man Andy Gray. This is his second spell with us after signing on a free transfer from Leeds. He’s getting on a bit now and a lack of mobility and a lack of goals means he offers very little for us up front, and with the partnership of Hanson and Wells bearing so much fruit, I don’t think there is much chance he will see that much action this year, injuries permitting.
5) Which Huddersfield player are you most concerned about? We don’t have Alan Lee anymore, that’s got to be a weight off.
Obviously Alan Lee was a big loss but I do think there are several players which City need to be very mindful of. All action forward, James Vaughan could cause us problems at the back and Adam Clayton’s tenacity in midfield will be something that needs to be dealt with. New signing’s Jonathan Hogg and Jon Stead (although I’m not sure how fit he is) bring extra quality to the Town side as well.
6) Do you have a prediction for the game that I can tediously retweet if you get it wrong?
Derby games against Town are always a tough affair and I don’t expect this one to be any different. I’m really hoping City will put on a performance to mirror that against Arsenal and Villa last season, if we can reach that sort of level then I think we can win the game. I’m pretty hopeful, so I’ll go with a 1-2 victory for Bradford.