Bradford v Pompey: All you need to know about the opposition

Pompey travel to mid-table Bradford tonight as they continue their quest for a League One play-off spot.

Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 4:00 pm
Bradford right-back Tony McMahon

With games running out, Kenny Jackett's men are in desperate need of points after two draws from their past two outings.

The Bantams find themselves in a different position - nine points above the relegation zone and 10 adrift of the top six after a dramatic collapse since the turn of the year.

Here's all you need to know about Bradford ahead of the clash...

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Bradford right-back Tony McMahon

The manager

Simon Grayson retired from playing to take charge of Blackpool, having been put in caretaker charge in 2005.

In his first full season (2006-07), he guided Blackpool to the Championship and then on to their highest finish since 1972.

The heart strings would pull in 2008, though, when Leeds United came calling,

Bradford right-back Tony McMahon

Grayson began his career with the club, making two appearances.

And he achieved at Leeds what he did at Blackpool, taking them from the third tier of English football into the Championship.

Grayson also masterminded to a 1-0 win at rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup thanks to a Jermaine Beckford goal.

The former Leicester, Aston Villa and Blackburn player was proving himself as the ultimate League One manager.

In his next two assignments at Huddersfield Town and Preston, he led the clubs to promotion to the Championship.

Sunderland saw him as the ideal candidate to take over from David Moyes after Premier League relegation.

But Grayson lasted only 18 games with a 16.7-per-cent win ratio.

That has dropped to 12.5 per cent at Bradford as he tries to put his stamp on the Bantams team, having replaced Stuart McCall in February.

One to watch

It is not often that a team's key player is their right-back, but that is the case for Bradford.

Tony McMahon has been one of the Bantams' best players despite his position on the pitch.

The 32-year-old was integral to the club's fine start to the season and, as such, a lot of the play goes through him, with no Bradford player making more passes.

McMahon leads the team in assists with nine, including two from set-pieces.

He is a constant threat down the wing, firing in the fourth highest number of crosses in the league.

Bradford's tendency to work the ball to McMahon is shown in that only Rotherham have crossed the ball from the right more than Bradford.

He is an experienced operator at this level and could rack up 200 League One appearances by next season.

Team news

Stephen Warnock is an injury doubt for Bradford tonight.

The former England left-back was forced off against Shrewsbury with a tight hamstring, so Adam Chicksen is ready to deputise.

That could be the only change to the side which collected a goalless draw in the televised fixture.

Central defender Ryan McGowan remains sidelined with a knee injury which threatens to rule him out of Australia’s World Cup squad.

Also absent are Alex Jones (ankle), Jake Reeves (groin) and Romain Vincelot (knee injury) as Simon Grayson, seeks to claim only a second win as boss.


Bradford City don't have a settled formation, which is no surprise considering their league form and with Grayson still trying to find his best team and system.

Under predecessor McCall, the Bantams were largely a settled 4-4-2.

Grayson has flitted between a back three and back four.

Bradford do, however, focus more of their attacks down the right-hand side, while they are accurate when they move the ball into the final third or play it long.

Previous meeting

On October 28, 2017, Bradford were in a much better position than they are now.

They had just defeated Pompey 1-0 at Fratton Park in what was a 'smash-and-grab' win, according to the match report in The News.

Matthew Kilgallon's 80th-minute header kept Bradford third in the league.


After starting 2018 with a 2-1 win at Fleetwood Town, the Bantams have won once in 14 games.

In that time they have dropped from fifth to 13th in the League One table.

What the manager says

'The focus is on Portsmouth and we certainly can’t let our standards drop,' said Grayson.

'Players are still playing for this football club and playing for futures here, there and everywhere.

'If you maintain those standards, you will win football matches without a shadow of a doubt.'


Pompey have the had the second fewest offsides in League One this season with 53.

Only Blackpool have had fewer with 51.