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Match Previews


9 January 2023

Match Previews


9 January 2023

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Mark Hughes hopes the Bantams can extend their winning run to three matches tomorrow night, in a rescheduled visit of Rochdale at the University of Bradford Stadium.

Hughes is encouraged by his City side's recent performances against Salford City and Harrogate Town, and believes “they are in a good place”, but warns his players to not underestimate a side which possesses quality in “key areas”.

The City chief is pleased with the positioning of the Rochdale fixture, and admits playing twice a week can benefit the Bantams’ rhythm and momentum.

He said: “We are ready to go and are in a good place at the moment. We have got the two home wins behind us now, and the aim is to make it three.

“Rochdale remain in a difficult situation at the bottom of the league, but we have to be careful because they will be doing everything they can to not be involved in a relegation fight.

“As I have said with all the teams at this level, they have all got talent in their group that can hurt you. Having looked at them this week, we have seen they do have some good quality in key areas of the field. 

“The key is to not underestimate anybody in this league, and that includes Rochdale.

“The timing of this game is important to us, because we had a couple of options where we wanted to put the game, and ideally wanted to avoid another long break in fixtures.

“We are happy enough with the date. We still have other fixtures that need rescheduling, so it helps we have this game to come at a relatively good time.

“When we play Tuesday and Saturday, it provides good continuity and rhythm to our play, so we benefit from playing twice in a week. 

“It also helps for momentum and mentality. If you are winning every week, that changes your mindset, and we are lucky to come into this in good heart.

The Welshman is heartened by his Bantams’ confidence as they look use the “excitement of playing and a lack of apprehension” to secure their third-straight win tomorrow.

Hughes is proud of his players for “turning a corner” at the University of Bradford Stadium and insists being a direct and offensive can often be “worth a gamble”.

“The players are playing with so much confidence right now,” Hughes added.

“In training, the levels were always good, but now there is more of a dynamic.

“There is also a sense that we want to keep playing. After Harrogate, we could not wait to play Salford, and now we are looking forward to Rochdale.

“It is great we have this excitement and lack of apprehension. It will hopefully get us very far tomorrow.

“We talked about our home record and how that needed to improve. It did get to the point where we were not getting the results on the board that we wanted.

“We have turned a corner, to a certain extent. In areas on the field, we have improved, and we have got used to how teams like to change mid-game.

“We needed to be on the front foot more and have more players in advanced positions. We have to accept that we will have less control, but it is worth a gamble when committing numbers forward.

“Three-straight home games is unusual, but it is important we capitalise on that and take maximum points.

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