He limped off injured in the first half against Swindon over Christmas and that was the last time we saw star striker Nahki Wells play in the claret and amber of Bradford City before his switch across West Yorkshire to arch rivals Huddersfield Town – many fans including me asked the question why them? Of all the teams why Huddersfield, by all accounts he had his pick of a few but opted for the blue and white of The Terriers.
To be fair, the move to Town probably makes sense for Nahki. He won’t have to move house assuming he is settled in the area and will now be in the Championship. Do Huddersfield have ambitions of the Premier League? I’d probably say they do, they’ve got a very wealthy owner in Dean Hoyle and that could carry them further than the current position they have, but more importantly for Wells he will get regular game time than if he had gone to a QPR or a Leicester for example. At such clubs with large resources and big squads he might not have played week in week out, which he will at The Galpharm.
His last minute winner for Huddersfield was as predictable as it was annoying but is was so typical of Wells, a instinctive first time finish is something we’ve all come to see all to regularly in the last two years at Valley Parade. In the end we have to remember that both player and club were good for each other. Bradford have helped progress Nahki’s career and likewise his goals fired The Bantams to promotion and a major club final.
On one hand I really want Nahki to go on and be the Premier League striker that I believe he can be. Without question he is a unbelievable talent and it would be nice to say that at Bradford we set him on his road to stardom, but then on the other hand we would also be saddened in the way he left.
His exit has been softened by that of the arrival of Aaron McLean, who is a proven goal scorer at this level albeit a few seasons back now whilst at Peterborough United. He should add goals to the team – fingers crossed filling the void left by Wells. His arrival will hopefully give the whole club a boost. I’m sure all the speculation in recent weeks and months about the ‘will-he-won’t-he’ move of Wells will have affected Phil Parkinson and the squad, so hopefully now we can get back to some normality.
Aside of McLean I’d like to think more arrivals will come in before the end of the transfer window, I still believe we are missing a goal scoring midfielder as no one currently is capable of doing that on a regular basis. Traditionally Bradford go with Nathan Doyle and Gary Jones in the centre and both are more defensive minded midfielder than attacking ones.
Results have been poor over the last few months. The club are without a home win for around four months now and a lot of draws have been collected over the winter months, which has seen The Bantams drop out of the play-off picture and down to mid table, which is probably at this stage more our level than the top six.
Had someone at the start of the season offered a mid-table finish I’m sure most Bradford fans would have taken it. However, the good start that had us right in the play-off picture up until October might have changed some fans views. I suppose as a club we were on a crest of a wave in those early months, fresh from promotion and with a confident squad, which showed earlier in the season, but once injuries and suspensions kicked in the problems have come, and since then the team has dropped down to 12th in the league.
Over the last two or three months, despite the poor results, we have as a club seen the emergence of our young talented striker Oli McBurnie. The youth player has been given his first professional contract in recent weeks and has started two games, whilst also appearing more and more off the bench.
McBurnie certainly has potential, and I’m pleased Parkinson has signed a proven goal scorer in McLean which I think will help McBurnie long term. Had the pressure been on young Oli now to get the goals that might have been difficult, but by allowing him at this stage to grow into games in a bit part role I believe it will benefit him hugely going forward. I firmly believe that in 18 months to two years, if he keeps progressing, then Bradford will have a real player on their hands.
Personally, I’d be happy to finish the season strongly and push into the top ten. That for me will be a excellent first season back in League One. From there we will see how things progress, but for now it feels like a end of a era with Wells going – the class of 2012-13 that served us superbly well and will go down as history makers is being slowly broken up and remoulded.
The Bantams may have levelled out for the time being in League One but I firmly believe Phil Parkinson is the right man to go again and eventually takes us back into where I believe we should be – the Championship.
Written by Mark Scully, We Are Going Up’s Bradford City Blogger
Mark tweets at @scully87