Stuart McCall Molding Bradford City Into Winners

Sam RobertsCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2009

In his playing days Stuart McCall was a determined midfield dynamo with a never-say-die attitude. And now the former Scotland international seems to have instilled those qualities in his beloved Bradford City.

The Bantams, who were in the Premier League in 2001, now find themselves in the Football League basement, but after several depressing seasons in Yorkshire the club have high hopes of promotion to League One.

The promotion favourites lie in fifth place just four points adrift of table-topping Brentford with 15 games remaining and ready to pounce on a top-three finish.

The bookies have the Bantams priced at football odds of 9.4 to win the league and if you believe the saying "cleansheets win titles" then Bradford are in with a shout. McCall's men have picked up 10 points from the last 12, but more importantly they have not conceded a goal in that four-match run.

It's six hours since goalkeeper Rhys Evans conceded and as McCall enthusiastically points out, only one goal conceded from "open play" in 11 matches.

It's an impressive run from the West Yorkshire side, who regularly pack in over 12,000 fans at their Coral Windows Stadium, and considering the enforced changes in McCall's back four, it is even more admirable.

Skipper Graeme Lee has been a rock, while new boy Zesh Rehman has arrived on loan from QPR and added experience and composure.

But McCall's find of the season must be young defender Luke O'Brien, 20, who has made the left-back berth his own and who has been impressing the watching scouts with his consistent displays.

The role of on-loan Rangers midfielder Dean Furman should also not be underestimated in City's new-found defensive stability. The all-action 20-year-old is similar in style to McCall in his City playing days and the Cape Town-born star has been inspirational over the last few months.

McCall, who took over in the summer of 2007, has moulded Bradford into a side who are defensively sound and resolute and with Nicky Law, Peter Thorne, Michael Boulding and Steve Jones to get the goals they look to be in as good a shape as any of their rivals heading into the final third of the season.

By Phil Tomlinson, an online sports writer for Betfair—Check them out for Cheltenham odds.

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