Having finished 11th and seventh in their first two seasons back in League One, Bradford City have now secured successive play-off berths.
However, the signs are very promising so far this term. The Bantams sit in third place, with a five-point gap on nearest challengers Rotherham United.
Boss Stuart McCall captained the Valley Parade club as they won promotion to the top flight back in 1999. And there’s plenty of reason to believe he can deliver more of the same in the dugout in this campaign. That’s because…
Their striking options are something special
Joint second-highest scorers in League One so far, the Bantams have been highly impressive in the final third. Last weekend’s 4-1 rout of MK Dons in Buckinghamshire marked the fourth time they’ve hit three or more in this league campaign.
However, Bradford aren’t over-reliant on one goal machine. Five of their strikers have found the net this term, with Charlie Wyke and Dominic Poleon top of the charts with four apiece. Lively youngsters Omari Patrick and Alex Jones are on three.
Across their forward line, City have an excellent blend of qualities. Poleon is a tireless workhorse with plenty of power. Wyke is extremely quick and a deadly finisher. Elsewhere, Shay McCartan’s trickery and Patrick’s barrelling runs offer other options.
Summer acquisitions have bolstered City
There’s little doubt that this Bradford side are better equipped for an automatic promotion than last year’s (admittedly talented) crop.
A few good, experienced players did exit during the summer window – but that’s been more than offset by a number of excellent additions who already look set to take the West Yorkshire club to the next level.
Jake Reeves, signed from AFC Wimbledon, has been a classy addition to the Bantams midfield. Elsewhere, the likes of Adam Chicksen and Tom Field have added quality in defensive areas for a side looking to build on last year’s relatively good record at the back.
With youngsters like Patrick (snapped up from Barnsley), Alex Gillead and McCartan also causing plenty of problems for defences in attacking areas, they’re a tough prospect for opponents.
Tactical setup is paying dividends
The Bantams boss has proved himself a savvy tactician this term. McCall has mostly gone with a 4-3-3 at home, but the 53-year-old has adapted that set-up on the road.
On their travels, Bradford have tended to play 4-4-2 (with the well-balanced pairing of Wyke and Poleon), or else an expansive 4-3-2-1 setup – a system which led them to victories over the likes of Peterborough United and Doncaster Rovers.
With good recruitment, a flurry of talented striking options and a tactically shrewd boss on their side, we think there could be plenty of value in Bradford to win promotion at 15/8.
Next up for the Bantams is a trip to Gigg Lane on Saturday, with the visitors 6/5 to secure a third win in four meetings with Bury.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing