Bradford City boss Gary Bowyer was keen to take the positives from the Bantams’ 2-1 defeat against Manchester City’s U21’s in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday night at Valley Parade.
Bradford managed to give minutes to the likes of Hope Akpan, who was made the captain, Zeli Ismail, Adam Henley and Tyler French and that will only help boost the competitiveness in Bowyer’s squad, with Akpan, in particular, impressing against Manchester City’s under 21’s in midfield, as the Bantams look to find some consistency to improve upon a solid start to the League 2 campaign.
Akpan gave Bradford the lead against Manchester City, but Bowyer’s side were eventually pegged back by City’s Morgan Rogers before Tommy Doyle registered the winning goal to send his side through to the last 32 of the competition.
Bradford though can be enthused by an encouraging display from the likes of Akpan, Ismail and Henley who showed they are knocking on the door to be selected for the first team, which will only increase the Bantams’ chances of building on Saturday’s 3-1 win at home to Carlisle United and cementing themselves as promotion contenders.
Speaking after the game to the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Bowyer expressed that he was pleased to have got some extra game time into some players and was focusing on that despite the narrow loss, saying@ “There are plenty of positives for us to to take forward. We always went into tonight looking to win and progress.
“We have got minutes into players like Adam Henley, Hope Akpan, Zeli Ismail and Tyler French. “I had always planned to take Ismail off at half-time.”
As Bowyer suggests, getting minutes into his squad players is crucial if Bradford are to be able to sustain a challenge for promotion straight back to League 1 following the club’s relegation last term.
Bradford’s start to the season has been solid enough, with City sitting in 6th place in the table having collected 17 points, but they have been guilty of perhaps being a little inconsistent at times so far, which suggests that Bowyer is still searching to find the perfect balance in his starting eleven and therefore places are still up for grabs.
That will be encouraging to the players who were selected to play against Manchester City’s under 21’s on Tuesday, with them all knowing that if they produced positive performances they could cement themselves in Bowyer’s thinking for Saturday.