Yet another defeat for David Hopkin’s men against Sunderland on Saturday leaves The Bantams back in the relegation zone, ahead of their trip over the Pennines to newly promoted Accrington Stanley. In comparison, the hosts have adapted to League One life superbly, losing only twice and finding themselves just outside the playoff spots ahead of Saturday.
The Sunderland performance showed some fighting spirit and was definitely an improvement on how City were playing previously and were unlucky to be 1-0 down going into half time. Sunderland found the lead through striker Josh Maja, who’s hand deflected Lee Cattermole’s shot in past Richard O’Donnell. City were back on level terms 7 minutes into the game after Anthony O’Connor rifled home from close range, only for Sunderland to take the lead 2 minutes later through Jack Baldwin. Max Power was then sent off for Sunderland after fouling Jack Payne in the box, who then proceeded to miss the subsequent penalty. Sean Scannell was also sent off after a shove late on in the game on George Honeyman, and as a result will serve a 3-match suspension after City’s appeal was rejected.
Accrington ‘keeper Connor Ripley will also be unavailable for selection on Saturday. The on loan Middlesborough keeper, who spent time on loan at City in 2013, was sent off only 15 minutes into the 1-0 loss to Shrewsbury. The winner for Shrewsbury came from yet another City loanee, this time in the form of Alex Gillead, who headed home from a Shaun Whalley cross.
Despite this, Accrington remain the favourites for this Saturday; much to the dismay, but not to the surprise of City fans. A positive note however is that striker Alex Jones returned midweek, during The Bantams’ 4-1 loss to Oldham in the Checkatrade Trophy, offering more options, and a clinical finisher up top.
It’s apparent to all that the quality of the City squad is just not good enough, with David Hopkin admitting so himself, but if the players can show the fighting ability they showed against Sunderland, but match that with taking their chances, there is no reason why City can’t go ahead and win this one.
Prediction- 1-1 draw.