In the two months prior to Edin Rahic leaving Bradford City they lost nine matches, including a dismal run of seven straight defeat from the beginning of October.
In the two months since then they’ve lost just twice, away at promotion hopefuls Sunderland and Barnsley, and are now seemingly back on track. They’re still in the relegation zone, but just one win separates them and 18th placed Shrewsbury.
They’ve won four of their last six, scoring 13 goals in those wins without reply. Prior to that they’d only won four all season. It’s fair to say that David Hopkin has turned things around.
The 3-0 hammering by Barnsley at the weekend will have dented their confidence, perhaps even upset the momentum, but they’re by no means down and out. At one point they looked certain to be dropping out of League One, but nobody would want to go to Valley Parade right now, especially not a Southend side beaten by Plymouth at the weekend.
There’s a suspension to contend with and a new face or two who might play for the Bantams, leaving Hopkin with decisions to make. We attempt to help him out by naming the XI we’d play tomorrow against the Shrimpers.
The big change for the Bantams is going to be at left back. They usually have Adam Chicksen playing, but he was dismissed against Barnsley and is likely to be replaced by 20-year-old Thomas Isherwood. Converting to a flat back four from the defensive 3-4-2-1 they play away means Leeds’ player Paudie O’Connor is likely to miss out.
In the middle of the park, Anthony O’Connor will likely play a holding role, having stepped out of the defensive duties he performed at Barnsley.
There’s few surprises further up the pitch. Jack Payne gave them a big boost by confirming he’d still be with the club once the window has closed and along with Lewis O’Brien they’ll carry the real threat from midfield. Both are strong on the ball but also capable of adding goals, which makes the attack look very strong.
George Miller and Eoin Doyle continue up front, although they’ve only got ten goals between them and need a big performance. Midfielder Jermain Anderson, signed this week from Peterborough, will have to wait for his first start.