at the Coral Windows Stadium
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Blackburn Rovers 0
Bradford City 0
Saturday 26 July 2014
(Pictures kindly provided by Gary Chadwick)
City played out an entertaining goalless draw with Championship side Blackburn Rovers in their latest pre-season friendly fixture this Saturday.
At a hot and humid Coral Windows Stadium, the Bantams more than held their own against their higher-ranked opponents two weeks before their Sky Bet League 1 opener with Coventry City.
Although top striker Jordan Rhodes was missing from their squad, Rovers’ attacking threat was always apparent throughout the game, but it was City who would end up fashioning more clear-cut chances during the fixture.
Rovers probably edged the opening period without creating too many openings. Chris Taylor and Jason Lowe went close for the visitors but City were still holding their own as half time approached.
The Bantams’ best scoring opportunities in particular came after the restart, with marauding full back Alan Sheehan testing visiting ‘keeper Paul Robinson on a couple of occasions.
Substitutes Mark Yeates and Oliver McBurnie also threatened in a second period controlled largely by the Bantams.
Recent loan signing from Sunderland Jordan Pickford was given his first outing in City’s goal.
Not for the first time this pre-season, City lined up with a diamond shape in their midfield for the Rovers fixture. With Gary Liddle once again in front of the back four, Raffaele De Vita and Matthew Dolan played just in front of him, leaving Billy Knott to push forward when possible to support the front two of James Hanson and Billy Clarke.
Knott dropped back into central midfield alongside Dolan just before half time, however, when De Vita was replaced by Yeates after Italian appeared to pick injury late in the first half.
Liddle was also taken off as a precaution with around fifteen minutes to go after coming off second best in a challenge earlier in the second half.
Among City’s other substitutions in the game, goalkeeper Matt Urwin was given the second period as he continues his bid to win a City contract, while fellow trialist Christopher Routis played at centre half for the final twelve minutes or so.
Mo Shariff – another trialist on show for Phil Parkinson’s men – featured in the game’s closing stages.
Trialists Achille Campion and Reggie Lambe were unused substitutes.
McBurnie was further second half introduction from the bench though, as he and Lewis Clarkson finished the game as the Bantams’ strike force.
For McBurnie, it was his first appearance of pre-season following back and groin problems earlier this summer.
Despite the raft of changes after the break – nine in total – the majority Parkinson’s starting eleven played roughly three quarters of the game.
Stephen Darby and Rory McArdle in fact managed the whole match distance.
Given the high temperatures at the Coral Windows Stadium throughout the contest, referee Andy Haines sensibly elected to give the players a water break midway through the first and second half.
CITY STARTING ELEVEN
1. Jordan Pickford
2. Stephen Darby (c)
3. Alan Sheehan
4. Matthew Dolan
5. Andrew Davies
8. Gary Liddle
9. James Hanson
10. Billy Clarke
11. Billy Knott
20. Raffaele De Vita
22. Rory McArdle
12. Matt Urwin for Pickford (46)
6. Christopher Routis for Davies (78)
7. Mo Shariff for Dolan (84)
14. Mark Yeates for De Vita (44)
15. James Meredith for Liddle (73)
16. Achille Campion
17. Jason Kennedy for Knott (59)
18. Lewis Clarkson for Clarke (69)
19. Oliver McBurnie for Hanson (69)
21. Reggie Lambe
23. Niall Heaton for Sheehan (88)