Bradford City midfielder Hope Akpan has been struggling to find any form for the side ever since joining in 2018, seeing him rewarded the captain’s armband in that time, only for it to be stripped from him.
The Bantams faced relegation last season under Gary Bowyer and started this season in the fourth tier, looking for an immediate bounce-back with automatic promotion. However, their mid-season form derailed their push and ultimately saw the departure of Bowyer, to be replaced by fan favourite Stuart McCall.
Their form has since improved, with a draw and a win in their first two games under new management, lifting the side to within just a point of the play-off places, with 13 games left to play.
Bradford have a lot of depth in their midfield positions and have seen the resurgence of Jake Reeves in recent weeks, with his performance against Stevenage catching the eyes of a lot of fans at the Utilita Energy Stadium on Tuesday night.
However, one player who has seen contrasting fortunes in recent games is Hope Akpan, who can’t seem to do anything right at the moment.
Coming on in the 85th-minute on Saturday afternoon with the side looking set for a much-needed victory in McCall’s first game in charge, Akpan’s introduction coincided with a goal for Grimsby just seven minutes later, when there appeared to be no threat of conceding.
It’s safe to say that Akpan is coming in for a lot of criticism from fans and it’s not surprising to see why after some very underwhelming performances.
A Bradford City fan group on Facebook discussed the player’s current toils…
Simon Conway Troutbeck “Hopefully Stuart has seen enough to know how bad he is.”
Adam Baker “Did no better or worse than Reeves tonight.”
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Stephen Brooks “Adam Baker you must be joking! Reeves is not a world-beater, but hell, he worked his socks off, supporting the attack one minute, back helping in defence the next, always looking to get on the ball and get involved.
“He had to do the work of two men because Akpan just saunters about as though he’s on an afternoon stroll. At one point, Reeves ran over 50 meters just failing to get on the end of a cross, and was the only city player in the box, within 30 seconds, he’d run back to the other end and got a block in on the edge of our area!
“I’d gladly pay Akpan’s train fare back to where we signed him from!”
Danny Whittingham “Does something good quickly followed by something bad.”
Andy Greenwood “Absolutely unfathomable as a professional footballer. Likely to be the highest earner left at the club. Get shut.”
Stephen West “Missed a tackle on Saturday that cost a goal and the same tonight. I didn’t see him make a tackle tonight. Kiwomya commented he never gets near enough to tackle.”
Deejay Edmands “Meh, he ain’t bad.”
Nigel Barker “Reeves was not as good when Akpan went off.”
Phil Gelder “Thought Reeves was class, a real leader, covered every blade. I think he tired towards the end doing a two-man job.
“Everything just seems to pass Hope by, he didn’t seem up to the pace of the game tonight, I think he’s shown quality though just not consistency, he needs to be sharper on the press when others are going.”
Martin Stewart “I panicked tonight every time he got the ball.”
Kevin Walker “He won two headers last night, which I think is a record for him, and he played a couple of good long balls out to the wing for DM-H. But I’m not a fan of him.”