Stuart McCall's Bradford backed for League One play-offs

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 21 July 2017, 09:11

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Stuart McCall and Bradford ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League One season.

Background

Bradford were most people’s idea of the best team outside of the automatic spots last season and they dominated the play-off final against Millwall but failed to deliver that one big moment when it really mattered. As such, they were primed to be the standard-bearers of League One this term but a surprise summer exodus of senior players left Stuart McCall with another rebuilding job. Recruitment so far has been good, so last season is the benchmark when it could have been the platform.

Personality

Streetwise is the word McCall likes to use when describing how he has changed since his first spell in charge at Valley Parade and it sums up his personality perfectly well. He isn’t the most academic, innovative or analytical but he isn’t afraid to make decisions, which by definition means he isn’t afraid to make mistakes. After ten years in management, he now carries the authority of someone who has been around the block more than enough times to know the answer to most problems.

Quote

"We’ve lost a couple of our players because of finance but I must clarify that I’ve been happy with the amounts we’ve been offering. If other clubs go above that, then we have to accept that other clubs have bigger budgets than us. Last year, we came in and people didn't expect too much because we didn't have a lot of players. We built it up with new owners, new manager and new team. I think expectation will be a bit higher this season and that’s something you've got to live with."

Verdict

The situation is remarkably similar to 12 months ago when many were forecasting a season of transition following a summer of upheaval. However, McCall has shown himself to be a much more accomplished manager than the one who departed for Motherwell in 2010 and he can whip the Bantams into shape once again. The new owners have done some imaginative transfer business in the last two windows but a lack of knowhow might ultimately prevent an automatic push.

Prediction: play-offs

Stuart McCall

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