"Remember us in Cups full-crowned,
And let our City-health go round"
A sobering thought to add to the growing pile of sobering thoughts in this traumatic season … when Bradford City thumped us 4-0 in mid-December, we were in the top half of the League One table while City were in the bottom four. Since then we’ve played 11 League One games picking up a miserable 5 points, which is relegation form by any standards. Now in mid-February City are in the same position, and we look increasingly likely to join them (or, more likely, change places). Looking at the most recent 5 games, the Bantams have picked up 6 points and sit amongst the chasing pack of 5 clubs breathing down our neck. Their current League One form:-
19 Jan Southend United (H) Lost 0-4
26 Jan Burton Albion (A) Drew 1-1
29 Jan Shrewsbury Town (H) Won 4-3
2 Feb Wycombe Wanderers (A) Drew 0-0
9 Feb Fleetwood Town (H) Lost 0-1
16 Feb Plymouth Argyle (H) Drew 0-0
It’s debatable whether Dean Keates’ bringing his squad in for extra training will pay dividends in a competitive game - recent performances might suggest that some players have “switched off” already, accepting relegation as inevitable. It’s all very well for players to make public statements about everyone being “behind the gaffer”, but the evidence on the pitch indicates that this attitude is sporadic at best. Our best (or least worst) starting XI has almost as many variations as there are squad members, and all the fans can do is wait for the team announcements before Saturday’s game before thinking "what on earth is he playing at?"
Prediction? Recently, every game has attracted the labels “must win”, “last chance”, “crunch game” - think Blackpool, Rochdale, AFC Wimbledon, and this fixture is an obvious addition to that list. We simply have to win this one if we are to have any realistic chance of staying in League One, specially bearing in mind the quality of opposition that awaits us in March - therefore we must hope that the gravity of the situation translates to this game, so let’s have a scrappy 2-1 home win, goals courtesy of Andy Cook and a Richard O’Donnell o.g.