Marcus Braddock previews the season opener against Bradford City
League football returns this weekend with Bradford visiting on Saturday. Sadly all the talk is about the poorly timed transfer request classily delivered by text and the two players coincidentally deciding they wanted out less than a week before the start of the season. Hopefully they will be gone as soon as possible so that Mr Askey can concentrate on those that want to be here.
Bradford has been quite a busy club in closed season with over a dozen signings coming in. Most recently, Preston Striker Eoin Doyle came in for an undisclosed fee after scoring 13 goals on loan for Oldham last season. Other eye-catching signings include mid-fielder's Sean Scannell from Huddersfield and Hope Akpan from Burton, both of whom have a wealth of experience at a higher level. They've also drafted in Clarence Seedorf's nephew Sherwin, a very quick winger who is looking to gain first team football having not yet played for his parent team Wolves.
New Bradford coach Michael Collins was appointed early in closed season bringing Martin Drury and Greg Abbott as assistants. The 32 year old has been with Bradford since last closed season after coming in as under 18 manager in July. He started his playing career in Yorkshire with Huddersfield Town making close to 200 appearances and scoring 19 times. His career also ended in Yorkshire, with 22 appearances for Halifax Town last season after having retired from football.
This weekend's referee is Kevin Johnson from Weston Super Mare. He's been a referee in the football league since 2014 when he officiated the League Two game between Tranmere and York on August 9th. Later that season he was in charge of Shrewsbury Town for the first time in an away defeat to Southend. The following season he was in charge at Shrewsbury in a 2-1 home defeat to Doncaster and a 0-1 home defeat to Oldham. His first Shrewsbury win came in Feb 18th 2017 when we beat Wimbledon although he was in charge on the last day of that season at Oxford where we lost 2-0. His last game in charge of Shrewsbury was last seasons away win at Gillingham. Last season he was in charge of 37 games, handing out 111 yellow and 9 red cards.
Assistants : Abbas Khan and Alan Clayton
Fourth Official : Hristo Karaivanov
Shrewsbury will be without Sam Jones, while Bradford seem to have no injuries ahead of this weekends game.
Obviously the run in to this game has not been ideal, the troubles mentioned at the top of the page have been added to with the news that new manager John Askey is to serve out a touchline suspension from last season. The news that Anthony Grant was arriving from Peterborough was a nice positive in the midst of the chaos but he may not be 100% match fit for the first game of the season.
Bradford fans must be looking at the goings on at Montgomery Waters Meadow with interest and more than a little hope and who can blame them? If the roles were reversed we'd feel the same although I would be open to the thought that the adversity experienced might well bing the team closer together. I think we will be OK without the two who are leaving, The signings we've made so far this transfer window have been very encouraging so I'm going into this one with high hopes of a new team rising, based on some excellent additions to the outstanding players we already have.