Tortuous Bradford City statistics no inspiration for Portsmouth

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For rock-bottom Bradford City, the tortuous statistics continue to pile up.

No team in the top four divisions have lost more games in 2018, six-successive defeats, four managers in a calendar year, two Saturday wins since December – there’s plenty to wince about.

Jack Whatmough and Matt Clarke look stunned after Pompey concede a second at Bradford back in April. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep

Jack Whatmough and Matt Clarke look stunned after Pompey concede a second at Bradford back in April. Picture: Joe Pepler/ PinPep

Kenny Jackett is aware of such excruciating figures, the research an essential part of preparation.

His Pompey side, unbeaten on their travels in all competitions this season, visit Valley Parade on Saturday.

It’s top against bottom – welcoming opposition according to the figures laid out in front.

But the Blues boss is adamant focus must remain on his side rather than weaknesses of any opponent.

Jackett said: ‘I do read everything about Bradford, definitely.

‘You always analyse the opposition and try to read what they are going to do and their strengths. You attempt to sum up where their weaknesses are going to be on Saturday.

‘As a manager, you can get analysis on the opposition absolutely spot on. However, if you take your focus off your own team and still don’t win, you think “Well, I absolutely nailed that in terms of what was coming at me, but my own side were half-a-yard short”.

‘So you have to get your own team right. Two-thirds or three-quarters of the winning formula is having a good team yourself – and after that there’s a part of being clever up against the opposition.

‘For us, we have to look at last week against Accrington and the way we started. We want to start with that tempo on Saturday and make sure we can step up those standards, but be clinical in front of goal in our strong periods.

‘Bradford have established players, players with experience, and are also a genuinely big club.

‘For whatever reason, it hasn’t quite happened for them so far this year, but after that my focus doesn't really go on them, it’s Portsmouth and making sure Portsmouth do as well as we possibly can to get as many points as we possibly can.

‘Our consistency has been good, we have been in every game, that's a very good thing.

‘Can we go from there and really be a class team at times? We have to be one of the best sides in the league on a consistent basis – because we’re going to need to in order to get one of those three promotion places.’

Pompey lost 3-1 in April when the sides last met at Valley Parade.

And it’s a match Jackett still recalls, particularly the pitch.

He added: ‘The pitch seems a lot better than it was last season, looking at the videos and asking people, although I haven’t been to the ground yet this year.

‘That game was one where, in terms of a 4-3-3 set-up, we couldn't really make the spare man in midfield count.’