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Since we last met: Bradford City

5 March 2024

Club News

Since we last met: Bradford City

5 March 2024

Rovers are heading back to the University of Bradford Stadium for the second time in six weeks to face a revitalised Bradford City side.

It will be the third clash of the season between the two sides, with the Bantams taking the win in both Sky Bet League Two and Bristol Street Motors Trophy action. 

THE LAST MEETING 

A fine free kick from Harry Chapman saw Bradford edge through to the final four in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy when the sides last met on January 30. 

Rovers started brightly on the night but failed to break the deadlock before Chapman fired in from just outside the box on 58 minutes. 

Bantams striker Andy Cook was sent off in the later stages after collecting a second yellow card while Rovers lost Ben Close and Conor Carty to long term injuries. 

BRADFORD’S RECENT FORM 

Prior to a late defeat to Wycombe Wanderers in the semi-finals of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, Bradford were on a five-game unbeaten run with four victories – including wins against Wrexham and MK Dons. 

Saturday’s scheduled clash with Notts County was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at the University of Bradford Stadium. 

LAST TIME OUT 

Bradford City 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1 

Bristol Street Motors Trophy semi-final, Wednesday, February 21, 2024 

Line-up: Doyle, Halliday, Smallwood (Pointon 90), Kavanagh, Gilliead, Odour, Smith (Wright 75), Stubbs, Kelly (Ridehalgh 48), McDonald, Tomkinson (Chapman 90). Subs not used: Derbyshire, Wadsworth, Hadi. 

THE MANAGER 

Graham Alexander was given a second chance of managing in Sky Bet League Two this season when he took charge of Bradford in November, shortly after being dismissed at MK Dons. 

Alexander previously guided Fleetwood Town and Salford City to play-off glory in League Two and the National League respectively. 

THE KEY MEN 

Goalkeeper: Sam Walker 

The 32-year-old shot stopper moved to Bradford in January following the departure of Harry Lewis to Carlisle United. 

The former Chelsea youngster featured heavily across the EFL over the last decade but had his most prominent stint at Colchester United where he kept 57 clean sheets over 213 appearances. Since joining Bradford, Walker has kept four clean sheets in seven. 

Defender: Ciaran Kelly 

Irish centre half Kelly is into his first full season within the EFL having joined Bradford last January. He has made 34 appearances so far for the Bantams. 

Prior to his arrival in England, the 25-year-old featured for St Patrick’s Athletic and Bohemians in his native Ireland. 

In the middle: Alex Gilliead 

The former England age group international is onto his third spell at the Bantams having previously had two loan spells at the University of Bradford Stadium. 

Gilliead – who joined on a permanent basis in the summer of 2021 - is closing in on a double century of appearances and has had 30 outings so far this term. 

After coming through the ranks at Newcastle United, the 28-year-old had stints with Carlisle United and Scunthorpe United before his switch to Bradford. 

Up top: Andy Cook 

A prolific talisman at this level, Cook is into his fourth season with Bradford and has scored 66 goals in 152 outings for the club. 

The forward struck the 200th goal of his senior career in January as he salvaged a point for the Bantams at Colchester United. He has scored 15 goals in 37 appearances this term. 

HISTORY 

Formed in 1903, the Bantams were immediately elected into the Second Division of the Football League and soon won promotion to the top tier in 1908 as they secured their first league title. 

The success continued for City early on as they claimed an FA Cup title just three years later and more recently found themselves in the Premier League at the turn of the millennium. 

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 league win at Valley Parade came in April 2019 when a signature Mallik Wilks goal proved enough for all three points and saw Grant McCann’s side five points clear inside the League One play-offs. 

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH 

Both sides enjoyed the services of striker Paul Taylor in the last decade with the Englishman joining Rovers at the expiration of his contract with Bradford in 2018. 

The former Manchester City youngster joined the Bantams from Peterborough United in 2017 but only spent one season in West Yorkshire as he netted six goals in 33 appearances with City finishing 11th in League One. 

Taylor then linked up with Grant McCann’s side at the start of the following season but only featured on 18 occasions and scored once during a 3-3 draw against Gillingham at the Eco-Power Stadium in October 2018. 

Now aged 36, Taylor last featured at Midland Football League level with Premier Division side Congleton Town. 

Contributor: Jefferson Hall-Nolan 

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