"It was a grand upstanding Bantam (male hen)
So brisk and stiff and spry;
With a springy step and a jaunty plume
And a purposeful look in his eye"
(Jake Thackray song)
Well, what a week this is turning out to be! A most welcome (and unexpected, as the game went on) three points against Coventry City, followed by an equally unexpected win at Sunderland … and just as surprising is the fact that the UTS match previews for both games predicted the scores accurately.
So now it’s off to Bradford City, bottom of the League One table - and just the kind of fixture where we can easily trip up, because despite their dreadful early season form they’ve been showing signs of revival lately, not least of which was putting four goals past Peterborough in their FA Cup replay game this week. Their main Walsall connection is, of course, Richard O’Donnell in goal - and according to an unofficial Bradford City message board he can’t be solely blamed for their dreadful “Goals against” (39) figure … it’s all to do with the awful back 4 in front of him. Another connection in years gone by comes in the shape of Chris Hutchings, who was their manager for 6 months in 2000 before being shown the door. City’s current League One form:-
27 Oct Gillingham (A) Lost 4-0
3 Nov Portsmouth (H) Lost 0-1
17 Nov Peterborough United (A) Drew 1-1
24 Nov Oxford United (H) Won 2-0
27 Nov Luton Town (A) Lost 4-0
8 Dec Plymouth Argyle (A) Drew 3-3
It’s worth bearing in mind that in their most recent 5 League One games Bradford City have gained a total of 5 points … and so have we.
Dean Keates is faced with the old football parable of “Never change a winning side”, but it’s hard to resist the recall of Andy Cook (after suspension) and hopefully George Dobson (injury). Joe Edwards has been selected as a substitute for the last couple of games, so it would seem that he is sufficiently match-fit for a competitive fixture. Meanwhile Liam Kinsella will have done his selection prospects no harm at all after his screamer at Sunderland - perhaps he is the striker we have been looking for for some time?
Prediction? In the fervent hope that this forecaster can rack up a hat-trick of successful scores, let’s go for a 1-2 away win, which would put us within touching distance of the play-off zone.