Daggers v Bradford MATCH PREVIEW

IT WAS a tearful Stuart McCall who approached the Bradford fans and then the press after his side were defeated 3-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge last season.

by MIKE SIMMONDS

IT WAS a tearful Stuart McCall who approached the Bradford fans and then the press after his side were defeated 3-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge last season.

Consigned to another season in the bottom rung of the Football League, the former Everton midfielder openly questioned his ability to lead the Bantams back up the footballing echelon and admitted his was considering resigning.

His reservations appear to have taken a back seat now, as McCall remains in the Valley Parade hotseat and has led them to 11th in the table this season.


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They had gone 10 games without a win until a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Crewe Alexandra on Saturday ended that promising run.

McCall has chopped and changed his squad since that loss at Victoria Road, with the likes of Graeme Lee, Barry Conlon, Paul McClaren and Paul Heckingbottom all moving on in the close season.

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It appears money is tight up in Yorkshire too this season, as they haven't spent a great deal in the summer, with former Fulham defender Zesh Rehman and Huddersfield midfielder Michael Flynn their only big-name captures.

It was only eight seasons that the club had reached the holy grail and were playing the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League.

At that time, Daggers were travelling to clubs such as Nuneaton Borough and Hednesford Town in the Conference, but slowly that gap between the clubs has been eroded.

With both sides expected to challenge at the right end of the season this season, then the smart money would be on one team ending their stay in League Two come May.

TEAM NEWS

Daggers: Daggers are expected to be without midfielder Danny Spiller who picked up an injury against Darlington, but striker Josh Scott should shake off a knock picked up late in the game.

Forward Mark Nwokeji continues to improve, but won't feature against Bradford.

Bradford: City have almost a fully fit squad to choose from as only Omar Daley and Steve O'Leary are out, while Gareth Evans has returned from suspension.

WE'VE MET BEFORE

After a 4-1 thrashing at Victoria Road in the side's first ever meeting back in November 2007, Daggers have since gone unbeaten against Bradford.

They won 2-0 at Valley Parade, before a 1-1 draw last season, and better was to follow in April when they eased to a 3-0 success.

Sam Saunders had put the hosts ahead after half time, while late goals from Ben Strevens and Paul Benson completed the triumph.

ONE TO WATCH

James Hanson - after scoring 44 goals for Guiseley, Hanson was snapped up by Bradford in the summer and has already managed four goals for the Bantams so far.

The striker's fee is still yet to be decided though as a tribunal is expected to rule on how much Bradford need to pay.

FROM THE DUGOUT

"As we've found out, there's some real talent waiting to be unearthed in non-league football," Bradford boss Stuart McCall.

"Obviously there's a massive network of players in the London area, and John (Still) does his homework to cover as many games as he can.

"I felt for them not making the play-offs last season because they deserved to be there.

"But yet again he has found some more non-league players and given them the chance.

"We know it's one of the most difficult games we will face and will be put under pressure at times.

"They will get the ball down the sides and use long throws and set-pieces.

"But we are confident in ourselves. We've been very positive away with the way we've played and goals we've scored.

PREDICTION

A tough 1-1 draw as both sides emerge with a point.

Can Daggers emerge victorious against Darlington? Email: mike.simmonds@archant.co.uk

The Post is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Post_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road.

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