The Thursday Preview: Oxford United Vs Bradford City

Posted by on Jan 13, 2011 in The Thursday Preview | 2 Comments

If expectations at Bradford City rival those of Philip Pirrip, the city’s continued status as one of England’s chiefest ten conurbations does provide some justification. However, as a recent piece in the superb Bantams blog, Boy from Brazil admitted, the tide has been receding ever since the decline of the woollen trade — economic woes rarely make for healthy teams.

But by this token one would expect Oxford — that pompous city of silver spoons — to be thriving on pitch — but the spire reveries of the historic core are far from matched in the suburbs from which local club United draw the lion’s share of their adherents. The Kassam, three sided as it is, is one of the League’s least appealing stadia and some distance away mentally from the cosy surrounds of the Eagle and Child.

But these two still feel a cut above their League Two brethren. Bradford have an ex-England boss at the helm and Peter Taylor’s moves off the pitch have been impressive — the rhetoric is of Hoddlesque ‘preparation’ and yet to be built training grounds. To boot, the ex-Fox has signalled his long term ethic by turning down a place alongside Alan Pardew at Newcastle and he continues to strive for a winning combo.

Mid table mediocrity after four seasons of wallowing will induce restlessness however. Loan signings Bob Kiernan, Richard Eckersley and Tom Adeyemi have done just about OK even if one youthful misfiring hitman of a striker Louis Moult has been swapped for Hull’s Mark Cullen. A 3-1 reverse at home to lowly Barnet saw heads drop alarmingly and a claw back in form after a terrible August and September is in danger of subsiding.

Oxford look in more robust order and the recollection of a 5-0 dousing in October’s reverse fixture will spur them on mightily. Inconceivable negative murmurings at a supposed lack of goals from conference superstar and twice Wembley hero James Constable are not supported by the evidence. 8 from 16 begins to disprove the scepticism of former manager Paul Simpson and Tom Craddock’s tally of one less points to a more piercing front line than Bradford’s at least.

A 4-3 humdinger of a victory at Torquay was followed up by another road trip win at Aldershot and the U’s are upwardly mobile for now. Expect the memory of that October day to be banished. Oxford to win 3-1.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. Lloyd
    January 13, 2011

    Nice piece (although I'd have cited a better pub).

    Would imagine that Bradford would do well to play the patient game and slowly evolve towards better things, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him go if the Bantams continue as mid-table dwellers. Surprised that they have managed to attract Eckersley; he was on loan with us last season and I thought he was a decent player at Championship level.

    As for Oxford, Steve MacLean seems a good foil for Beano. Just a pity PAFC will be paying about 80% of his wages for the pleasure.

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    January 13, 2011

    I mentioned the Eagle and Child because it's more precious than the competition with its annoying Tolkein associations – so even more of a far cry from the Bullnose Morris in Cowley than most.


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