Being knocked out of the JPT this week felt almost unjust having knocked out three of League One’s top five teams, but attention now turns back to the league for the big game with Plymouth after a week or so of welcome cup distractions.
Tuesday’s trip to Oldham highlighted what is great about this club, and in a season (Or more like decade) where everything has been doom and gloom, the Johnstones Paint Trophy has been a real shot in the arm for the club. 2,500 fans making the trip over the Pennines to the coldest ground in the world on a wet December night is nothing short of fantastic. Parkinson, Andrew Davies and Oldham Athletic have all commented on the impressive nature of the Bantams fans. Unfortunately we were left empty handed coming away from Oldham and the 2,500 City fans minds turned to this Saturday.
City were not great on Tuesday night, not a patch on their Saturday performance against Wimbledon, but that was to be expected considering the number of changes. I’d expect that had we put out the same team against Oldham as we did against Wimbledon we would have fared much better. Last Saturday showed what City can do against an opponent who claimed a comfortable 3 points at Valley Parade only 6 weeks ago. This City team now look solid, but are struggling for goals up at the other end of the pitch. Hopefully Phil Parkinson now knows what is his best eleven and he can begin to tinker with the team less. Last Saturday against Wimbledon the team looked to have far more balance and benefitted from two strikers, two wingers and two central midfielders. Parkinson has to stick to this formula as much as possible.
Plymouth have recently changed managers and it paid dividends as they won their last league game 4-1 against, an admittedly poor, Northampton team. Player boss Carl Fletcher will bring his team up to West Yorkshire hoping to eliminate the points gap with ourselves which earlier in the season looked an impossible task. With the history between Marcel Seip and Plymouth, Fletcher will no doubt have his team fired up for the game, something City need to match if they are to win.
With an illness sweeping through the City squad, it is difficult to see what sort of a team Phil Parkinson will be able to put out for Saturdays match. Ricky Ravenhill, extremely impressive against Wimbledon, is the latest to be struck down and he will be a big miss in the middle if unavailable.
Having seemingly regained his confidence, Jonny Mac will continue in goal, continuing to hold the number 1 shirt currently above Matt Duke.
After Liam Moore’s disappointing performance it is almost certain that Simon Ramsden will be recalled for the right back spot. Andrew Davies and this seasons Player-of-the-Year-So-Far Luke Oliver will continue to forge their partnership in the centre of defence and former Plymouth man Marcel Seip will slot in at left back to complete the defence.
Craig Fagan and Kyel Reid will be recalled to perform on the flanks against Plymouth, and after sitting out his one game ban on Tuesday, Michael Flynn will be back. Ricky Ravenhill will partner him depending on fitness, with Ritchie Jones on stand by having returned to action on Tuesday night.
Up front James Hanson will continue to lead the line, with a likely recall for Ross Hannah, with Nahki Wells seemingly more effective in the ‘super sub’ role against tired defenders in the latter stages of the match.
As strong a team as City can put out, it is time they transferred some of the form from the cup competitions into the league. How many times have we heard that before?