Swindon Town make the long trip to Bradford City this evening as they go in search of another important win which would see them close in on the top four.
Here’s an insight into Mark Hughes’ side ahead of this evening’s showdown.
The lowdown on The Bantams…
The club was founded back in 1903 and immediately elected into the Football League Second Division.
Promotion to the top tier followed as they won the 1907/08 Second Division title and then went on to win the 1911 FA Cup Final, which remains the club’s only major honour to date.
They were relegated in 1922 and again in 1927, before winning the Third Division North title in 1928/29.
Another relegation in 1937 did enable the club to go on to win the Third Division North Cup in 1939, however a further relegation followed in 1962 to leave the club in the newly created Fourth Division.
They secured promotions back into the third tier in 1969 and 1977, but were relegated in 1972 and 1978.
However, success followed in the 1980s under the stewardship of Roy McFarland and then Trevor Cherry, winning promotion in 1981/82, with a Third Division title heading their way in 1984/85, although they were relegated out of the Second Division in 1990.
Six years later they regained their place back into the second tier via the play-offs in 1996, before securing another promotion in 1998/99 to reach the Premier League.
This marked a return to the top-flight of English Football after an incredible 77-year absence.
The success didn’t end there though, as they entered Europe in 2000/01 and reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Intertoto Cup, but the season ended badly as they suffered another demotion.
A succession of financial crises followed as the club entered administration twice in the two years that followed in 2004 and 2007, leaving The Bantams in the fourth tier.
Phil Parkinson took the reins and had an immediate impact, guiding the club to the 2013 League Cup Final and winning that years League Two Play-off Final, but they were subsequently relegated in 2019.
Did you know…Bradford City are the only professional football club in England to wear claret and amber colours, and have worn these throughout their history.
Valley Parade, known as the University of Bradford Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is an all-seater ground that can hold 25,136 at full capacity.
Built in 1886, it was the home of Manningham Rugby Football Club until 1903, when they changed code from rugby football to association football and became Bradford City.
The ground is now owned by former chairman Gordon Gibb’s pension fund and was also the home to Bradford (Park Avenue) for one season, as well as the Bradford Bulls rugby league side for two.
It’s also hosted several England youth team fixtures.
Football architect Archibald Leitch was commissioned to redevelop the ground when Bradford City were promoted to the First Division in 1908.
The stadium underwent a few changes until a fatal fire in May 1985, where 56 supporters were killed and at least 265 were injured.
It then underwent a £2.6million redevelopment and was re-opened in December 1986.
The last five previous meetings…
Swindon haven’t fared too well against The Bantams in their last five encounters, winning just one, which was the most recent.
Last season, back in March, Town travelled to Bradford in League Two and recorded a narrow 2-1 win, coming from behind to claim victory thanks to goals from Harry McKirdy and a 96-minute winner from Jack Payne.
It was sweet revenge for Town, who were beaten 3-1 earlier in the campaign at SN1 in October 2021. Jack Payne scored again that day, but it was too little too late with The Bantams already three goals up.
The season before saw the sides draw in January 2020, with an early Jerry Yates penalty cancelled out by Shay McCartan a minute from time.
Earlier that season, in October 2019, Bradford recorded a 2-1 win at Valley Parade, which was a repeat of the clash back in March 2017 at the same venue when the pair met in League One.
Bradford City this season…
Just a single point currently separates the two sides, with Bradford sitting sixth in the standings with a game in hand.
It’s been a confident start to proceedings this term for Mark Hughes side, recording seven wins in their fourteen League Two matches to date.
However, their current run of form has seen them win just once in their last five outings in all competitions, with a goalless draw away at Grimsby Town their last League Two result, although an impressive 1-0 win away at Salford City before that helped boost their early play-off place credentials.
Arguably the highest profile manager in League Two, Mark Hughes took over at the West Yorkshire club back in February this year.
The 58-year-old Welshman has penned a deal running until the Summer of 2024, marking the first time he’s managed a club outside of the Premier League.
He’s made an impressive start to life at The University of Bradford Stadium, and was nominated for the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for September after The Bantams went unbeaten in four matches.
Players to watch…
In striker Andy Cook, Bradford have the leagues second highest scorer to date, with the 32-year-old notching ten goals so far this campaign.
The forward is closing in on sixty appearances for the club since joining permanently in June last year.
The Bantams boast a wealth of experience in the squad, with captain Richard Smallwood, former Leyton Orient forward Lee Angol and winger Alex Gillieadleading the line.
They also boast an array of exciting young talent and have made the most of the loan market, with six currently on the books.
One of which will be a familiar name in the shape of Romoney Crichlow, who joined Town on a season-long deal in August 2021 before being recalled by his parent club, Huddersfield Town in January 2022.
Midfielder Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa), Luton Town’s Dion Pereira, Huddersfield’s Kian Harratt, Scott Banks (Crystal Palace) and goalkeeper Joe O’Shaughnessy from Wolves make up the other loan rangers in the ranks.