For too long to the liking of most Bradford City fans, the Bantams have lived in the shadow of their noisy neighbours Leeds United.
That city rivalry spreads beyond the boundaries that divide the one from the other. Tentacles of support stretch into surrounding towns, reach into villages and rake into hamlets as individuals pledge allegiance to one or the other of the clubs.
Thankfully, the antagonisms between the two fanbases is largely verbal, many slurs and verbal spars being thrown between the two. Bragging rights are always claimed and digs given over social media when one or the other loses.
At the moment the distance between the adjoining West Yorkshire cities, in footballing terms, is no more starkly illustrated than Leeds’ 3rd place in the Sky Bet Championship and Bradford’s 24th place at the bottom of Sky Bet League One.
However, putting all these differences aside, here’s three Leeds United youngsters who’d benefit Bradford City, whilst also picking up valuable, competitive match experience.
Ryan Edmondson (striker): Edmondson joined Leeds United from York City as a 16-year-old in November 2017. Still only 17, the youngster has already made his first-team debut at Elland Road. He’s also featured this season in Leeds’ match day squad as an unused substitute.
However, it’s at Under-23 level where he’s been developing a defined, cutting edge to his game. He’s been more than in amongst the goals for the young Whites, scoring regularly as the focal point of a high-pressing United side. Currently carrying a knock, Edmondson would be fit to join City as a January loan.
Jamie Shackleton (midfield): Whilst Bradford City may think themselves sufficiently stacked with midfielders, they may want to take a look at Leeds youngster Shackleton. He was highly praised by former Whites boss Neil Redfearn as one of the outstanding talents at the club. That talent has already been seen by Leeds fans.
Shackleton made his first team debut in a preseason friendly draw at York City, first featuring in a senior match against Derby County in a resounding 4-1 victory. He featured in the 2-1 Carabao Cup victory over Bolton as well as gaining his first Championship start against Swansea City, his run and pass leading to Kemar Roofe’s goal. Usually a central midfielder, Shackleton can also, as against Swansea, fill in as a right wing-back. A possible loan signing, but Leeds should tag on a recall clause.
Pascal Struijk (defender): Struijk was highly rated at Ajax, so it was something of a coup when the Whites managed to convince him to swap Holland for West Yorkshire and a development of his football education in West Yorkshire. Early, niggling injuries curtailed his involvement to some degree, but he’s kicked on from that point.
He’s an imposing player for Carlos Corberan’s Leeds United Under-23s, looking very comfortable as a central defender. Away from that comfort, Struijk is also comfortable brining the ball out of defence, something that you’d expect from a youngster brought through the Ajax youth system. He’s one player highly thought of at Thorp Arch, a player who’d surely develop more with further exposure to first-team football, something he’d get at Valley Parade.