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Club News

Since we last met: Bradford City

30 January 2024

Club News

Since we last met: Bradford City

30 January 2024

Rovers will be looking to go one step from Wembley as they take on Bradford City in the last eight of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

Grant McCann’s men head to Valley Parade just ten days after they were due to make the same trip, only for freezing temperatures to see that league fixture postponed. 

The Bristol Street Motors Trophy has been a shining light for Bradford this term and their only win since beating Rovers in December came in the last round of this competition against Derby County. 

THE LAST MEETING 

Rovers led early on when the two sides met in Sky Bet League Two during the festive period but a Bantams comeback saw the three points return to West Yorkshire. 

Joe Ironside caught now-Carlisle United keeper Harry Lewis off guard in the seventh minute but goals from Andy Cook and Tyler Smith saw the visitors ahead at the break. 

Cook would then add a second five minutes from time to take the game away from Rovers. 

BRADFORD’S RECENT FORM 

The Bantams have not won in Sky Bet League Two since that meeting in DN4, having drawn four and lost three since then. 

Graham Alexander’s side have picked up a sole victory since then though in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy as Sam Stubbs scored the only goal against Derby County on January 9 to reach this stage of the competition. 

Back in league action City have drawn 1-1 against both Colchester United and Salford City since that cup success before most recently losing 2-0 at Swindon Town. 

LAST TIME OUT 

Swindon Town 2 Bradford City 0 

Sky Bet League Two, Saturday, January 27, 2024 

Line-up: Walker, Kelly (McDonald 69), Taylor, Stubbs, Ridehalgh (Richards 46), Smallwood, Gilliead, Halliday, Odour (Pointon 76), Smith (Chapman 46), Cook (Young 46). Subs not used: Doyle, Tomkinson. 

THE MANAGER 

Perhaps most well known for playing for both Preston North End and Burnley, Graham Alexander took to the helm at Valley Parade in November having already managed MK Dons in Sky Bet League Two this season. 

The Scotsman had the Bantams on six-match winning run up to Christmas and will be looking to rejuvenate that form having only won once since. 

THE KEY MEN 

Goalkeeper: Colin Doyle 

With new signing Sam Walker cup tied, responsibility between the sticks will fall to 38-year-old Doyle who has already made four appearances in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy this season. 

The Irishman has turned out for the likes of Birmingham City and Blackpool in a career spanning 20-years but he returned to the Bantams in 2022 where he is now also a coach. Doyle has kept two clean sheets in this competition this season. 

Defender: Sam Stubbs 

The 25-year-old centre half was Bradford’s hero after scoring the winner at Pride Park in the last 16 but he has also been a consistent fixture at Valley Parade this season having played 28 times. 

He signed for City in January 2023 but has only played in this competition twice having only featured in the knockout rounds where he kept clean sheets in both ties. 

In the middle: Richie Smallwood 

A former player under Grant McCann at Hull City, Smallwood knows what it takes to be successful in the EFL having won promotion from League One with both the Tigers and Rotherham United. 

Now into his second season with City, the midfielder is looking for more success with the Bantams having just fallen short of the League Two play-off final with the club last season. 

Up top: Tyler Smith 

Former-Rovers man Tyler Smith is the Bristol Street Motors Trophy top scorer at present having scored six goals in four appearances so far. 

Since scoring two on debut for Rovers in 2019, Smith has featured for the likes of Hull City and Oxford City across the Championship and League One before signing for the Bantams at the start of this term. 

HISTORY 

Formed in 1903, Bradford City have a FA Cup trophy to their name and played in the Premier League as recent as 2001 but these days the Bantams sit 18th in Sky Bet League Two. 

A first meeting with Rovers came on the Christmas Eve of the 1904/05 Division Two campaign and the Bantams ran out 4-1 winners on that occasion before completing the league double with a 1-0 victory in the April. 

Rovers last win over the Bantams came in this competition in September 2020 as Louis Jones’ penalty heroics saw his side to a 4-1 shootout win behind closed doors. 

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH 

Both clubs enjoyed the services of tricky midfielder Kyle Bennett after the Bantams took the former-Wolves youth on loan from Rovers in 2014. 

Bennett played 18 times for City during his loan spell and scored once but the Englishman didn’t find the back of the net anywhere as much as he did at Rovers throughout his career. 

After signing for Rovers in 2011, Bennett scored 16 goals in South Yorkshire that included two memorable efforts against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and assisted a further 11 in 131 games. 

The former-England youth international was part of Rovers’ 2012/13 League One title winning squad and also won the League Two with Portsmouth but he now features for Shifnal Town in the Midland League Premier Division. 

Contributor: Jefferson Hall-Nolan 

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