From Brad to worse for PNE’s opponents

Bantams striker Billy Clarke

Bantams striker Billy Clarke

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Bradford will be hoping that their FA Cup win at Halifax last week can be the springboard for some better league form.

The Bantams are without a victory in five games in League One and come to Preston this weekend in 14th place.

Sunday’s 2-1 win at the Shay was therefore most welcome in the claret and amber corner of West Yorkshire.

Their last league win came against Crewe on October 4 and results from earlier in the season point to the potential they have. They won at MK Dons and Rochdale, as well as beating Leeds at Valley Parade in the Capital One Cup.

North End manager Simon Grayson certainly will not be underestimating them when they visit Deepdale.

Grayson said: “When you look through Bradford’s side they have some good experienced players.

“At the moment they have Jon Stead on loan from Huddersfield, while James Hanson – if he plays – has an aerial threat.

“They have an experienced defender in Andrew Davies and two good wide players in Filipe Morais and Mark Yeates.

“We know what we will need to do against them and Bradford will be aware of what our threats are. Hopefully it is us coming out on top and it should be a good game.”

City recovered from going a goal behind to beat Halifax last Sunday.

Stead netted the equaliser with Morais – a PNE trialist in the summer of 2012 – on target with the winner.

Although not featuring on the scoresheet, much credit was given to striker Billy Clarke for helping swing the game in Bradford’s favour. Clarke, who can list Ipswich, Blackpool and Crawley among his former clubs, was introduced as a 
half-time substitute.

His performance is likely to land him a starting role against North End.

Loanee Stead was one of those to highlight Clarke’s contribution as he looked back on the victory over Halifax.

“We haven’t got a 25-goals-a-season striker,” said Stead.

“But we do create chances and what we have are front players who are clever and can move the ball.

“They can share the goals out. Filipe Morais came back into the side and played magnificently well.

“Then there was Billy Clarke, who was the big difference for me after coming off the bench.

“His pass for my goal was very clever and they are the sort of chances every striker prays for.”

Preston first-team coach John Dreyer is a former Bradford player and was part of the Bantams side which won promotion to the Premier League in 1999.

He helped keep them in the top flight too, his final game being a 1-0 win against Liverpool which secured safety.

After such a good spell in Yorkshire, naturally he keeps track of their results.

Said Dreyer: “They have a good manager in Phil Parkinson, who has worked wonders there and done a great job.

“He got them promoted and got them back playing at a decent level

“They’ve had a sticky spell of late but I hope they keep faith in him.

“They had a good win last weekend in the FA Cup against Halifax. It was a potential banana skin, a Yorkshire derby, and I think they went a goal down but came back well and won the game.

“You just need that one game to kick-start your season.

“Obviously with my professional head on, I hope that kick-start does not continue on Saturday but I would love to see Bradford do well.”