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Preview: Bradford City v Wycombe Wanderers


Wycombe Wanderers continued their resurgence under manager Gareth Ainsworth with a narrow but deserved 1-0 victory over Dagenham and Redbridge at a chilly Adams Park last weekend.

That the game even took place is a testament to what Wycombe Wanderers stands for as a football club in 2013. Very much in the spirit of 'where there's a will, there's a way' the club came together to arrange for Adams Park to be cleared of ice and snow and enabled the game to be played. It represents the kind of spirit that has been shown in abundance over the last 125 years and meant the players could go out there and do their thing. The Blues were the better side over the 90 minutes, albeit marginally, and although the game won't live long in the memory, the winning goal came from a neatly crafted move which was given the finish it deserved by in-form winger Sam Wood.

Ainsworth made just one change to the starting line-up last time out with defender Anthony Stewart recalled to the side to partner Dave Winfield. Defender Kortney Hause dropped to the bench where he was joined by winger Junior Morais who returned to the squad. He replaced striker Matt McClure who missed out due to the impending birth of his first child. There is no doubting the effect Ainsworth has had on the squad and the statistics certainly show the level of improvement. In the Chairboys last eleven league matches they have won seven, drawn two and lost two. That is 23 points from a possible 33. Talk about a possible play-off challenge seems rather premature but back-to-back away games against Bradford City and Gillingham will certainly test those credentials.

Weather permitting, Wycombe Wanderers will make their sixth visit to Valley Parade this weekend. In the previous five meetings there is yet to be a draw, with the Bantams winning three and the Blues winning twice. The first clash came back in September 1994 as Martin O'Neill's side fell to their first league defeat of their first ever season in the third tier of English football. Defender Jason Cousins' late penalty wasn't enough to prevent the hosts claiming a deserved 2-1 victory. Almost exactly a year later the Chairboys handed out a 4-0 thumping at the start of Al*n Sm*th's reign. Midfielder Stewart Castledine scored his first goal in the quarters whilst striker Miguel De Souza claimed a memorable hat-trick.

More than dozen years passed before the Wanderers returned to Valley Parade for a League Two encounter in September 2007. The visitors were under the guidance of Paul Lambert and he had been forced to deal with a goalkeeping crisis just 48 hours ahead of the game when Scott Shearer broke his ankle in training. Jamie Young had injured his hamstring the previous weekend and that saw 19-year-old Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Frank Fielding arrive on loan to take over between the sticks. There were further problems with striker Jermaine Easter left out of the squad at his own request as he looked to engineer a move but it didn't matter as striker Scott McGleish's early header was enough to seal a 1-0 win.

The last two visits have both ended in a 1-0 defeats. The first of those came on Valentine's Day 2009 when Peter Taylor's men were in the midst of a wobble which had seen them knocked off top spot in League Two. The only goal of the game came a minute before the break through Steve Jones. The visitors finished with just ten men when winger Chris Zebroski was shown a straight red card for catching defender Matt Clarke in the face with his boot. Almost two years later Gary Waddock's side also slipped to a narrow loss to a City side now managed by his predecessor Peter Taylor. This time the solitary goal was scored in the 69th minute when winger Kevin Ellison squeezed the ball past goalkeeper Nikki Bull from close range.

Gareth Ainsworth has tried to stick with a settled line-up as much as possible and is unlikely to make too many changes against the Bantams. The one likely switch could see Matt McClure earn a recall with striker Jo Kuffour the most likely to drop back to the bench. It was hoped that defender Leon Johnson would return to training this week after almost two months out with a knee injury but he won't be ready for first team action for a couple of weeks. Defender Gary Doherty is also at least a fortnight away form a return as he recovers from surgery on his back. Midfielder Matt Bloomfield continues his rehabilitation after suffering with a pelvic shear. Defender Danny Foster could face a second operation on his knee and that could mean he misses the rest of the season. Full-back Grant Basey has already been ruled out for the rest of the campaign and he continues his rehabilitation following surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament.

Here's the current list of players availability...

Leon Johnson (Centre Back) - ruled-out with a knee injury (hoped to return to training this week, possibly a fortnight away from a return to first team action)

Gary Doherty (Centre Back) - ruled out with a back injury (has undergone surgery and is set for another fortnight on the sidelines)

Matt Bloomfield (Midfielder) - ruled out with a groin injury (no timescale given for a return to first team action)

Danny Foster (Right Back) - ruled out with a knee injury (could need a second operation and may not play again this season)

Grant Basey (Left Back) - ruled out with an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (continues his rehabilitation following surgery and is unlikely to play again this season)

The Chairboys starting eleven could look something like this (4-4-2):

Jordan Archer

Michael Harriman - Anthony Stewart - Dave Winfield - Charles Dunne

Joel Grant - Josh Scowen - Stuart Lewis - Sam Wood

Dean Morgan - Matt McClure

Subs: Lee Harrison, Kortney Hause, Marvin McCoy, Gareth Ainsworth, Bruno Andrade, Matt Spring, Jo Kuffour


Bradford City are on the crest of a wave at the moment after reaching the final of the League Cup in midweek. They were beaten 2-1 by ex-Blues' boss Paul Lambert's Aston Villa in the semi-final second leg at Villa Park in midweek but striker James Hanson's second half header proved to be crucial as they claimed a 4-3 aggregate victory. It might now be 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' as they return to League Two action this weekend. As a consequence of their cup exploits they have won just one of their last six league matches, losing three of their last four and have slipped to 10th place in the table, two points off the play-off places and four points ahead of the Chairboys.

Manager Phil Parkinson made two changes to his starting line-up in midweek with defender Curtis Good, on loan from Newcastle United, coming in at left-back whilst striker James Hanson was recalled after recovering from a toe problem. Full-back Ryan Dickson, on loan from Southampton, missed out after picking up a knock whilst striker Andy Gray was cup-tied. Midfielder Garry Thompson returned as a late substitute in midweek after recovering from a minor knee ligament injury. Parkinson is likely to make changes this weekend with central defender Michael Nelson set to make his debut after signing from SPL side Kilmarnock for an undisclosed fee last week.

Defender Tom Naylor, on loan from Derby County, and Andy Gray are both available again after being cup-tied. Defenders Stephen Darby and Rory McArdle, winger Will Atkinson and James Hanson could be rested following recent knocks. Ryan Dickson remains doubtful and a trio of players are unavailable. Defender Andrew Davies continues his recovery from knee surgery and is set for another fortnight on the sidelines whilst defender James Meredith could miss the next two months as he recovers from glandular fever. One of the two ex-Chairboys in the Bantams squad is defender Luke Oliver but he has been ruled-out for the rest of the season following surgery on a ruptured Achilles. The other is Matt Duke and he should keep his place between the sticks after a fine display against Villa in midweek.

Bradford City could line up something like this: (4-4-2):

Matt Duke

Stephen Darby - Carl McHugh - Michael Nelson - Curtis Good

Zavon Hines - Ricky Ravenhill - Ritchie Jones - Garry Thompson

Alan Connell - Andy Gray

Subs: Jon McLaughlin, Tom Naylor, Gary Jones, Nathan Doyle, Blair Turgott, Kyel Reid, Nahki Wells


Here are all the stats...


The league table currently shows Wycombe in 16th place with 36 points from 28 games and Bradford in 10th spot with 40 points from 27 games.


Bradford Home Record.....W 8 - D 2 - L 4 - Pts 26...Ppg 1.86 (Rank-4)

Wycombe Away Record....W 5 - D 2 - L 7 - Pts 17...Ppg 1.21 (Rank-13)


Bradford's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Barnet (A)................Lost 2-0

LCp: Aston Villa (H)..........Won 3-1

Lg2: Oxford (H)................Lost 1-2

JPT: Crewe (A).................Lost 1-4

LCp: Aston Villa (A)...........Lost 1-2


Wycombe's last five results (All Competitions)

Lg2: Plymouth (A)..............Won 1-0

Lg2: Exeter (H)..................Lost 0-1

Lg2: Chesterfield (H)..........Won 2-1

Lg2: Wimbledon (A)..........Drew 2-2

Lg2: Dagenham (H)............Won 1-0


Bradford Goal Stats (41 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 38...Cups: 21...Total: 59

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 33...Cups: 20...Total: 53

Goals Scored (Home).........Lg: 23...Cups: 11...Total: 34

Goals Conceded (Home).....Lg: 13...Cups: 8.....Total: 21

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 10...Cups: 4.....Total: 14

Failed to score...................Lg: 8.....Cups: 2.....Total: 10


Wycombe Goal Stats (32 games in all Competitions)

Goals Scored (Total)..........Lg: 33...Cups: 4...Total: 37

Goals Conceded (Total)......Lg: 40...Cups: 8...Total: 48

Goals Scored (Away).........Lg: 17...Cups: 4...Total: 21

Goals Conceded (Away).....Lg: 26...Cups: 8...Total: 34

Clean Sheets.....................Lg: 8.....Cups: 0...Total: 8

Failed to score...................Lg: 8.....Cups: 2...Total: 10


Bradford's Top Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Nahki Wells............17

Alan Connell............8

James Hanson.........8

Kyel Reid................4

Andrew Davies........3

Gary Thompson.......3

Carl McHugh............3

Three other players have each scored 2 goals.

Five other players have each scored 1 goal


Wycombe's Goal Scorers - (All Competitions)

Matt McClure............8

Joel Grant................7

Dean Morgan............5

Gareth Ainsworth......2

Bruno Andrade.........2

Jo Kuffour................2

Sam Wood...............2

OG..........................2

Stuart Beavon..........1

Matt Bloomfield.........1

Gary Doherty...........1

Kortney Hause.........1

Josh Scowen............1

Matt Spring..............1

Dave Winfield...........1


Bradford Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

James Hanson.....38 on-target...50 off-target...2 against woodwork

Nahki Wells.........47 on-target...35 off-target...4 against woodwork

Alan Connell........24 on-target...28 off-target...1 against woodwork


Wycombe Shooting (Top-3) - All Comps

Dean Morgan......23 on-target...17 off-target...6 against woodwork

Joel Grant...........18 on-target...20 off-target...0 against woodwork

Matt McClure.......12 on-target...14 off-target...1 against woodwork


Shooting (Club) - League only

Bradford....163 on target...175 off target...10 against w'work (Rank-3)

Wycombe...110 on target...112 off target.....9 against w'work (Rank-22)


Most Assists

Bradford - Gary Jones.................9

Wycombe - Lewis & Grant............4


Discipline - All Comps

Bradford........2 Red Cards - 43 Yellow Cards

Wycombe.......5 Red Cards - 50 Yellow Cards


League Form Guide

All Season


Bradford......Pld: 27...W: 11...D: 7...L: 9.....Pts: 40...Pts per game: 1.48

Wycombe.....Pld: 28...W: 10...D: 6...L: 12...Pts: 36...Pts per game: 1.29


Last Five league Games

Bradford...........WLDLL - 4 points (Rank-20)

Wycombe......WLWDW - 10 points (Rank-6)


Last Five League Games (Home)

Bradford..........WWWLL - 9 points (Rank-7)


Last Five League Games (Away)

Wycombe.......WWLWD - 10 points (Rank-7)


Against Top Half Opposition

Bradford.......Pld: 12...Pts: 14...Pts per game: 1.17...(Rank-12)

Wycombe......Pld: 14...Pts: 13...Pts per game: 0.93...(Rank-19)


Against Bottom Half Opposition

Bradford.......Pld: 15...Pts: 26...Pts per game: 1.73...(Rank-10)

Wycombe......Pld: 14...Pts: 23...Pts per game: 1.64...(Rank-13)


Record in the First Half of games

Bradford........W: 6.....D: 12...L: 9....Pts: 30 (Rank-19)

Wycombe.......W: 10...D: 9.....L: 9....Pts: 39 (Rank-7)


Record in the Second Half of games

Bradford........W: 10...D: 11...L: 6.....Pts: 41 (Rank-6)

Wycombe.......W: 6.....D: 11...L: 11...Pts: 29 (Rank-22)


Previous Meetings

In 11 previous meetings there have been 7 wins for Wycombe, 4 for Bradford and 0 draws.

At Valley Parade there have been 3 wins for the Bantams and 2 for the Blues.

1994/95 LG1: Bradford 2 Wycombe 1

1995/96 LG1: Bradford 0 Wycombe 4

2007/08 LG2: Bradford 0 Wycombe 1

2008/09 LG2: Bradford 1 Wycombe 0

2010/11 LG2: Bradford 1 Wycombe 0


The Man In The Middle

Saturday's referee is Eddie Ilderton from Tyne & Wear who was promoted to the National List of Referees in 2002. The last time Wycombe encountered him was March 2010 when he awarded Oldham a stoppage time penalty in a 2-2 draw at Boundary Park. During the current campaign he's issued 2 red and 74 yellow cards in 22 appearances.


Predictions

Benny: Bradford 1 Wycombe 1

Len: Bradford 2 Wycombe 0




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny & Len Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 24 2013

Time: 2:28PM

 

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