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Match Previews


20 April 2023

Match Previews


20 April 2023

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Mark Hughes has praised his Bantams’ reaction to Tuesday night’s defeat to Swindon Town, as City set out to return to winning ways when Gillingham visit the University of Bradford Stadium on Saturday.

The Welshman has sensed a real drive and determination following the midweek defeat in Wiltshire, and is expecting City to bounce back, after their unbeaten 11-game run came to an end.

The City chief hopes his Bantams can sharpen their focus in attacking areas, and look to build on footholds they gain in games, as they had done in recent victories over Sutton United and Rochdale.

He said: “I have observed a lot of determination following the Swindon result, but it does not surprise me as I fully expected us to bounce back.

“I sense a lot of energy within the squad, which is pleasing because defeats can sometimes be concerning for team morale. We just want to improve.

“Having a home game on the horizon helps, because of the occasion, and we are going into Gillingham tomorrow, having been strong in our last two home outings. We are looking forward to it. 

“We were on the back foot slightly in the second half in Swindon, because we should have gone in front before the break, and that allowed them to be a lot more confident. 

“On reflection, if we had scored, then I feel the scoreline could have been similar to the Rochdale game, so I think certainly, the setback from Tuesday night will sharpen the focus from all of the players.

“We went too direct and long, where we needed to sustain our influence in their half, but we cannot dwell on it, and we look ahead to the weekend.”

The 59-year-old reminisced on the recent trip to Gillingham and encouraged his side to use the euphoric memories created in Kent to frustrate their visitors on Saturday.

While hoping to do the double over Neil Harris’ men, Hughes looked ahead to the final four games of the season, and acknowledges that the Bantams' promotion ambitions are still “very much in their own hands”.

“We played very well against them back in February - they found it really difficult to affect us,” Hughes reflected. 

“We scored some outstanding goals and we have some fantastic memories of trip, so that will help us. 

“They are a good team, and though they were in a rich vein of form at home before we turned up, we were able to stun them and take the three points. 

“They had a bizarre game in midweek, in which they confirmed safety, so they may have a little more energy and confidence coming into this one.

“Hopefully, we can look to take six points from them this season.

“Obviously, it would be ideal to end the season without losing. We are all aware that dropping points at this stage is crucial.

“For the last 12 games, we chased wins in every game and that will not change. We have this mindset that we cannot lose, and we slipped up in midweek, but it is all about the reaction. 

“We are all very much of the view that there are four games ahead of us that we can win. 

“Can we win four in a row? Yes, we can. We are up against good teams - teams that will challenge us - but we know we can cause a threat.

“We know exactly what we have to do and everyone backs themselves against our final four opponents. Promotion is all in our hands.”

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