Pre-season profile: McCall's Bradford City examined

Pre-season match #5
Saturday 22 July 2017, kick-off 3pm
Bradford City
Valley Parade

A trip to Valley Parade is on the cards next month as Sunderland face the first of two away matches in England.

Following the completion of a six-day stint in Scotland, which sees the Lads play three games, a weeks respite allows preparations to be finely tuned before a trip to Bradford City.

How they fared last season?

Bradford City suffered Wembley heartache in May, losing 1-0 to a late Steve Morrison goal which queued mass celebrations from the Millwall contingent. It was a bitter pill to swallow, as is any Wembley defeat, after their strong campaign in Sky Bet League One. A fifth place finish in England’s third tier saw them enter the play-offs for the second season running. And they were well worth it, conceding just 43 times in the league, a record bettered by just one side – Bolton Wanderers. Again, just seven defeats from 46 matches saw Stuart McCall’s regularly collect points even if they weren’t all three. However, that was also Bradford’s downfall as they drew 19 matches, more than any other club in all of England’s top four leagues.

Key performers

Bradford City had three key performers last season in attacking areas, Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila, Billy Clarke and Charlie Wyke. Hiwula-Mayifuila, 22, spent the year at Valley Parade on loan from Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town. With nine league goals last term, Hiwula-Mayifuila finished Bradford’s topscorer. Clarke was another player who caught the eye scoring seven times and contributing a further five assists, however, that prompted Charlton to swoop for the 29-year-old’s services at the end of the season. Finally, Wyke has made a fine start to life at Valley Parade. The 24-year-old joined from Carlisle United in January 2017 and hit the ground running immediately, scoring 7 times in 16 appearances. In total Wyke struck 25 times in 53 appearances last season, a superb tally for the forward who is beginning to reach the peak years of his career.

The manager, Stuart McCall

A former player at Valley Parade, Stuart McCall had two playing spells with the Bantams and is now enjoying his second spell in charge of them. McCall initially took charge of Bradford between 2007 and 2010 but returned ahead of last season with one goal, promotion to the Championship. Wembley heartache in May saw the Bantams reaffirm their commitment to McCall with the former Rangers and Motherwell boss’ aim promotion in the 2017/18 season.

Last time at Valley Parade – Bradford City 2-0 Sunderland

Gus Poyet’s Sunderland experienced an afternoon to forget in February 2015 when Bradford’s marvellous Emirates FA Cup run continued at their expense. An early John O’Shea own goal got the Bantams on their way before former Black Cats striker Jon Stead doubled the hosts’ lead just after the hour mark. Then managed by Phil Parkinson, Bradford advanced to the quarter-finals having defeated both Sunderland and Chelsea on route. 

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