bestkinky

The View From The Opposition: Bradford City

IT all comes down to this.

On Saturday, Millwall take on Stuart McCall's Bradford City at Wembley Stadium with both sides bidding for a return to the second tier of English football.

For the second consecutive year, Neil Harris will lead his side out at the home of English football, hoping to go one better than last season's 3-1 loss to Barnsley. Cup upsets at home against Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester have made this an enjoyable season for Lions fans, but this Saturday, it's all or nothing.

Promotion was the goal at the start of the season, and Millwall are now just one step away from that. While the magic of the FA Cup lived on at The Den, the league always had to be the priority for Millwall, and Harris will be looking to his side to draw on last season's heartbreak as an extra incentive and motivation.

Players such as Jimmy Abdou, Tony Craig and Steve Morison will be crucial, with nine Wembley appearances between them for the Lions.

For Bradford, it has been a successful season, with many expecting a bottom-half finish back in August. Forty-eight games later, and McCall has the chance to take his beloved Bantams to the Championship, following a 1-0 aggregate win over Uwe Rosler's Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-finals.

Many of this side suffered play-off heartbreak last season against Millwall, and will want to get revenge on their south London opposition. Bradford's owners have tried to heap pressure on the Lions, claiming Millwall are favourites.

Lucas Ball spoke to Bantams fan Asher Nutting ahead of what is sure to be a tightly contested affair at Wembley, with the last three games between these two ending 1–1.

Twitter: @AsherNutting

Why do you support Bradford?

Bradford is, of course, my most local team. It's difficult for any football fan to explain why you support the team you do, especially in the lower leagues. But when you fall in love with a football club, you know it.

How would you assess Stuart McCall's first season back in charge as a whole?

Stuart's first season back has been an absolute revelation. When he first came in we had brand new owners, eight contracted players and no backroom staff. My honest prediction for the season at this point was around 16th place.

McCall's gone above and beyond that. Not only has it been a successful season in terms of our results and league position but the brand of football's been far more enjoyable and he's brought the best out of every player. The buzz is well and truly back around Bradford City.

It's so nice to see him come back and do well after a disappointing first spell as manager a few years ago. He really is enhancing his already legendary status at this club more and more every single day.

Did the side play to the best of their ability against Fleetwood over the two legs?

In the first leg at Valley Parade, we absolutely battered Fleetwood and should've gone into the second leg home and dry.

In the second leg, we certainly weren't at our best but we didn't need to be with a 1-0 lead overall in the tie. Fleetwood offered very little in attack on home soil so the players just happily saw the 90 minutes out and got us to Wembley.

Do you agree that Millwall having more recent Wembley experience will give them a certain advantage going into Saturday?

Of course it could be an advantage but I don't necessarily like to think about it in that way. There's players in our squad who have played at Wembley before and the club itself has plenty of recent history at the national stadium.

At the end of the day, it's a one-game scenario and I trust in McCall to make sure that no matter what the result, those players will give everything for 90 minutes and have no regrets.

How do you think Bradford's summer signings have performed throughout this season?

Not one of our summer signings can really be labelled a 'flop' and I think that's a sign of some good business.

Every player, new or old, has done their job. The two standouts from our summer signings, for me however, have been captain fantastic Romain Vincelot and the ever-consistent Josh Cullen (apologies, he's a Hammer).

Having knocked Bradford out of the play-offs last season, is there also a psychological advantage for this Millwall side?

Last season in the play-offs was horrible for us. We were bullied all across the pitch over both legs and offered very little in response.

Quite simply, we crumbled.

However, we're a completely different side now and it's a one-game scenario at a neutral venue.

New owners, new manager, new players, new playing style. I don't really believe in the idea of a psychological advantage, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens come Saturday.

Who will be Bradford's danger men come May 20 ?

There's a few to choose from. On the big Wembley pitch, the pace and trickery of Mark Marshall could certainly cause a few problems (it certainly did at Valley Parade a few of months back).

If Alex Jones is deemed fit to play then he and Charlie Wyke can hopefully be as much of a handful as Steve Morison and Lee Gregory always are up the other end.

The large Wembley pitch may also suit the expansive passing style of the likes of Josh Cullen also.

What's in no doubt is that all 11 players who are selected on the day will have to turn up and have the game of their lives.

Who do you think Bradford will have to look out for from Neil Harris' XI?

Steve Morison and Lee Gregory. Simple.

Of course Millwall have plenty of other tidy players but first and foremost, we have to stop those two. How they're handled will play a huge part in the outcome of the game.

What line-up and formation do you expect Stuart McCall to play?

Stuart's formations have varied this season and it's been difficult to pin players down to certain positions pre-match. But I can certainly give you 11 names I hope he'll pick with hopefully a fairly standard 4-4-2:

GK – Colin Doyle

RB – Tony McMahon

CB – Rory McArdle

CB – Nathaniel Knight-Percival

LB – James Meredith

RM – Alex Gilliead (I hope. If fit)

CM – Romain Vincelot

CM – Josh Cullen

LM – Mark Marshall

ST – Alex Jones (If fit)

ST – Charlie Wyke

The likes of Timothee Dieng, Billy Clarke, Jordy Hiwula, Matt Kilgallon and so on could all slot into a position somewhere in there, however.

With the last three meetings between the two sides ending in 1-1 draws, what is your score prediction for the Sky Bet League One play-off final?

No way am I doing a prediction! All I'll say is that as long as the lads give it their all and have no regrets then I'll be proud no matter what the result. May the best team win.

Graphic: @ShedCreative 

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)