New season but same old Bradford would do very nicely for the 2013 / 2014 League One season. Having reached a major domestic cup final and gained promotion last season the squad Phil Parkinson had put together last summer needed only minor tweaking going into the League One campaign.
For me The Bantams shouldn’t be fearful of what League One might hold, plenty of clubs get promoted from League Two and then have successful campaigns the following season. I’d be disappointed if come May Bradford have been fighting relegation, as I firmly believe we are better than that – can Bradford get back to back promotions, probably not if we are being honest about things but I certainly believe we can push the play-off places close.
Transfer news has been quite coming out of Valley Parade, although ex-Rochdale midfielder Jason Kennedy has joined The Bantams on a free transfer along with ex-Watford winger Mark Yeates who has sparkled in pre-season from the left wing. Former Swindon Town man Raffaele De Vita who has spent pre-season with The Bantams has signed a one year contract to further boost the quality that is already in the ranks.
Aside of the players coming in the major struggle that all Bradford fans thought Parkinson would have has been keeping hold of the star players that impressed so much throughout last season. The likes of Andrew Davies and Nathan Doyle were out of contract this summer but both opted to stay. Nahki Wells who netted 26 league goals last season has been subjected to speculation for the past 12 months or so since he really came to prominence, Peterborough are the only club that have made their offer public the club have since said that they are the only club to date that have formally made a offer and it was way short of what would be needed to get the Bermudan’s services.
The only first team player to leave Valley Parade was keeper Matt Duke who joined the side Bradford beat to secure promotion Northampton Town, Duke was a hero of the cup run making numerous saves in both the games and penalty shoot-outs but his form was patchy in the league throughout his time at the club and realistically would only of been 2nd choice to whoever starts the new season as No.1. Duke will never be forgotten for what he helped the club achieve and will go down in folklore at Valley Parade.
Pre-season results have been good although you can’t read too much in them. A win over local non-league side Guiseley was followed up by a trip to Ireland where Phil Parkinson’s men beat League of Ireland sides Athlone and Bohemians. Last time out The Bantams secured another win against non-league opposition this time in the form of Grimsby Town. The Bantams did lose 2-1 to Championship side Doncaster Rovers but results mean nothing in my opinion in pre-season it’s all about getting the fitness right and avoiding any injuries.
The Bantams have a tough start to life in League One with newly relegated Bristol City first up at Ashton Gate this Saturday; realistically you’d expect the likes of Bristol City, Wolves, Sheffield United to be challenging for automatic promotion. So if Bradford can come away with anything on Saturday I’d be very impressed. Like I wrote earlier I do generally believe Bradford have the makings of having a successful season in the league, the problem that hinder progress is the fact Phil Parkinson has assembled a relatively small number of players for the squad that squad is full of quality but soon as injuries and suspensions grab hold and they will do at some point during the season then it will be interesting to see how the fringe players step up to the mark last season they did so impressively with Carl McHugh in particular proving a real find as he capitalised on the long term injuries to both Davies and Luke Oliver.
I think the key to a successful season is making a solid start with some tough looking fixtures in August it might be difficult for Bradford to do that but providing no one leaves before the transfer window shuts and in particular that no one being a certain Mr Wells then I believe The Bantams will be ok, take away the goals Wells will bring to the table and then we might be in trouble.
Written by Mark Scully, We Are Going Up’s Bradford City Blogger
Mark tweets at @scully87