The Thursday Preview: Oxford United Vs Bradford City
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.