Bantams boss thinks Blues will beat them
WHILE not quite waving a white flag, Bradford City boss Nicky Laws last night admitted he did not expect to get much from a side he considers possible automatic promotion contenders.
WHILE not quite waving a white flag, Bradford City boss Nicky Laws last night admitted he did not expect to get much from a side he considers possible automatic promotion contenders, writes Derek Davis.
The Bantams have called in an emergency striker for the weekend, with Adrian Littlejohn expected to play his first league game in 15 months as cover for the suspended Andy Gray.
Although he is thin on the ground with players, Laws has allowed former Brentford captain Paul Evans to go on loan to Blackpool while Dundee United have taken Andy Tod, which saves City paying out a £25,000 appearance fee to Motherwell.
With Peter Atherton also suspended, midfielder Jamie Lawrence injured and back-up goalkeeping worries, Laws concedes his side may struggle against an Ipswich side unbeaten in eight league games.
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Laws said: "I really do believe that at the end of the season Ipswich will be in the shake-up. They will be in the play-offs and who knows, they could go up via automatic position.
"Even though we beat them at Portman Road they had too many good players to stay so low and under the stewardship of Joe Royle they have become a force to be reckoned with.
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"With the way things are, and the people we have missing, if we are able to pull anything out of this game it will be a bonus."
The Blues won't be lulled by such defeatist talk but at the same time see the trip to Valley Parade as a great opportunity to get the three points which could put them into the top six.
Royle said: "Bradford are doing well. They only have Ashley Ward left from the halcyon days of the Premiership so they have had hard times but they are doing well to keep going."
Following a run of seven straight defeats, City have now won four of their past six matches, including their last two at home.
Town have stuttered a little away from home of late and Royle insists his side needs to finish sides off.
He said: "At one point I thought our destiny lay with our home form, but since then we have been doing well at Portman Road.
"But we have been blowing things away from home of late. We missed enough chances at Burnley and at Sheffield to win a month of games so we need to put that right and starting winning games again.
"We have no divine right to win but we will be going to Bradford for all three points and not just a draw."
With no injury concerns for Royle, Ipswich are expected to be unchanged from the side that should have won at Sheffield United last weekend, with transfer-listed Dutchman Martijn Reuser added to the squad.
While East Anglia has been hit by snowstorms, Bradford has escaped the flurries that fell in Yorkshire and City are confident the game will go ahead.
The covers have been put over the pitch and with no forecast of frost or heavy rain which caused the postponement against Crystal Palace a couple of weeks ago, there is little danger of the game not going ahead.
* IPSWICH Town have been told by the Football League that they can wear their blue strip for their away trip to Crystal Palace, scheduled for Saturday, February 25, subject to the London side not beating Liverpool in their FA Cup replay.