Valley Parade, 10th August, 3pm.
Bradford City 6/4 Draw 23/10 Coventry City 9/5
(Odds via William Hill)
17th November 2013 – Bradford City 3-3 Coventry City
1st April 2014 – Coventry City 0-0 Bradford City
Last season these two teams were involved in one of the games of the season in league one when they met at Valley Parade, both teams producing excellent attacking displays in front of the Sky cameras as the played out a 3-3 draw. 3 of the 4 goalscorers on that day (Nahki Wells who got a hat-trick, Leon Clarke and Callum Wilson) have all moved on to pastures new after their impressive form made other clubs stand up and take note. The question is will they be goals aplenty as the two clubs lock horns again on the opening day of this season?
Bradford City come into this match with a rather threadbare squad after financial restraints has hindered manager Phil Parkinson’s pursuit of targets, however the probable first eleven looks strong throughout the team. Jordan Pickford, Alan Sheehan, Gary Liddle, Billy Knott and Billy Clarke are all likely to play their first competitive game for the Bantams and will be looking to impress the management team and fans alike. One player who is a doubt for Bradford is striker Aaron McClean, McClean has missed pre season after failing to recover from a calf strain in early July but he has been in training in the week coming up to the game however Parkinson has said that the match against the Sky Blues will come too soon for the ex Hull and Peterborough man.
Coventry City have recruited well this summer, despite the outgoings of hotshot Callum Wilson and the promising Cyrus Christie as well as the uncertainty over midfielder Carl Baker’s future. Steven Pressley has brought in Danny Pugh, Marcus Tudgay, Shaun Miller, Reda Johnson and Jim O’brien to name a few, all are good players at this level and if the new look team can gel then Sky Blues fans can be optimistic at a play off push this season. Coventry have a fully fit squad to choose from for the season opener, there were scares about the fitness of centre halfs Dan Seabourne and Andy Webster but they have returned to training this week after recovering from knocks in pre-season and should be ready in time for Saturday.
It will be a very interesting game with a change in the Bantams style with Parkinson opting for a narrow midfield and looking for more possesion based football that they have shown in pre season, far from the “dark age football” Steven Pressley eluded to after the the 6 goal draw last season. Pressley has been flirting with a 3-5-2 formation in pre season with athletic duo Jordan Willis and Jordan Clarke being utilised as wing backs and it is likely that he will be using this style on Saturday, however the manager has admitted that his team can change to a more conventional 4-4-2 when it is needed. I can see this being a game with two sides getting used to their new styles of play with the game ending all square.