Pompey v Bradford: the opposition view

Bradford boss Stuart McCall is in his fourth spell at Valley Parade
Bradford boss Stuart McCall is in his fourth spell at Valley Parade
Pompey player Gareth Evans

Pompey Christmas quiz: Gareth Evans

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This season has gone better than expected for most Bradford fans, bearing in mind the big turnover from the team which lost in the League One play-off final.

Steve Morrison’s 85th-minute goal gave Millwall victory at Wembley and ensured successive play-off losses.

After that, six of the Bantams’ starting XI departed and the club had to regroup. Thankfully, recruitment so far, which numbers eight signings, seems to be pretty good.

Those that exited were big-hitters like Billy Clarke, James Meredith, player-of-the-season Mark Marshall and Rory McArdle.

A lot were out of contract and on high wages, so the wage bill has been brought down considerably. Bradford will not have a top-six player budget.

Recruitment at Valley Parade isn’t totally down to the manager, the board like to have a say and are all for pushing younger players through.

Still, the Bantams sit third in the table following a bright start, although there has been one point from the last three games, so inevitably it is a doom and gloom scenario for some.

Incidentally, their first and only away defeat in all competitions this season came the last time they were on the road – at Bury.

Stuart McCall has created a positive attacking side, they don’t park the bus, they are quite an open team.

The manager has done an excellent job to be fair, although I am a bit biased because he’s the world’s nicest man and a dream to deal with!

He is a legend here and now in his fourth spell – twice as a player and twice as manager. He really is Mr Bradford City, the fans love him and he is such a positive bloke.

When Phil Parkinson left for Bolton, Bradford’s German owners sought advice from the club’s previous owners, who are Bradford born and bred, and the name of McCall came up.

In his first season they reached the play-off final and he is seeking to build on that this year.

There have been some excellent performers so far, among them Romain Vincelot, who played half of the last campaign at centre-back but is now in his preferred midfield role.

Matt Kilgallon is an excellent centre-half, while right-back Tony McMahon has six assists from dead balls and earned the Sky Bet September goal of the month for a free-kick against Northampton.

McMahon is a doubt for the trip to Pompey and Bradford miss him when not there.