Monday, 13 April 2015
The Inside Line: Bradford City v Bristol City (14/04/2015)
April 14th, 2015.
Could this be the day? The moment of crowning glory this team has worked so hard for all season? The maths are now simple. A win at Bradford on Tuesday night will mean Bristol City become the first team in the country to gain promotion this season. That in itself is a mark of the success we’ve had, and I’m pretty certain this success-ravenous manager City somewhat stumbled across will be drilling this into his players in the dressing-room before the match.
This is another chance to make headlines as ‘winners’, a chance to get our club’s names and their own names up in lights at the same time.
The accolades will follow as and when promotion is achieved, but I think it’s fair representation of our season, and of our approach, that most fans are travelling up to Yorkshire in expectation rather than hope. Cotterill seems to have created a team of winners across the club and even the fans are now turning up with a a more positive mindset than at any previous time I can recollect.
But it won’t be easy. As explained below, Bradford are another dangerous team in desperate need for points to get anything out of their season. Just as Oldham and Barnsley have proven recently, games against teams scrabbling for those final positions aren’t straight-forward, and especially so away to a team that has already beaten MK Dons twice, Preston, and, of course, the Champions of England-elect, Chelsea.
“Come full time on Tuesday night, you guys could clinch promotion and our slim play-off chance could be over.
For Bristol City, it's a case of nearly job done. Reading snippets of your great blog, I get the impression that this promotion has been two years in the waiting. Once completed (hopefully not on Tuesday...) the promotion and JPT Trophy double achievement will be fully deserved.
For the Bantams, I personally see this season as a major step towards our long-term goal of promotion to the Championship.
We still have a mathematical chance of a play-off spot, but with seven points to overhaul in just five games, it's a huge ask. Some will see this as a missed opportunity to make the play-offs, however I can't help but feel proud of our League achievements.
Pre-season saw a massive squad overhaul. Many of the League Cup Final/Play Off winners of 2013 departed and there was uncertainty about the team assembled. Fortunately for us Bradfordians, this current class has gelled quickly and performed very well. We've been in and around the mix all season and have had some great wins including a double over the Franchise, and a late winner away to Preston. At times we've shown we can mix it with the best in the league.
Unfortunately, it has been our inability to see out games that has hampered our progress. We've conceded several late goals and have dropped 13 points from winning positions.
The success in the FA Cup has once again propelled us into the mainstream media and further enhanced fans expectations. The victories over Chelsea and Sunderland were crowing moments, however the catalyst for the season was in the less glamorous First Round tie against Halifax. Losing by a goal at half-time, a second half turnaround saw us grind out a 2-1 win, which kicked off a seven game unbeaten run in the league.
Jon Stead started the revival that day and he has been influential this season. Similarly to his days at Ashton Gate, Stead has gained a cult following with the Valley Parade faithful (if you haven't seen it, he did an "Aden Flint" in a Sky Sports interview in January http://youtu.be/57eCm6xZ88E).
Stead has been vitally important but I still believe manager Phil Parkinson is the key to this club’s success. He has changed the entire mood and ethos around the club during his four year tenure. He has made us proud of our club and city again!
Hopefully with funds from this year’s cup run, he'll be able to add this squad and mount a real promotion push next season.
Or, he could knock off the seven point deficit and take us up this year.
Sounds crazy I know but so was thinking we'd come from two down at Stamford Bridge. And we all know what happened there...”
Despite Mesh’s optimism, I believe this is our time. Championship here we come.
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