Gillingham v Bradford: centre-backs key

Solid performance last week – Kilgallon

It is fair to say that Bradford City’s performance, in their 2-1 win over Blackpool last week, was not a vintage one. They relied largely on their centre-backs: Matthew Kilgallon for his man-of-the-match performance and Nat Knight-Percival for his opener just before half-time, after Timothee Dieng flicked on Nicky Law’s free-kick.

Another centre-back, Gabriel Zakuani, had a good game for Gillingham’s opener at Doncaster. The ex-Northampton man came closest to scoring, seeing his header clawed off the line and added physicality to the Gills back-line. Adrian Pennock though will be most thankful to Tomas Holy, who divided opinion at Priestfield but made key close-range saves from Matty Blair and John Marquis to preserve a point.

The one concern from their first two games, which included Tuesday’s 2-0 cup defeat at Reading, is the shortage of chances created from open play. Pennock’s troops have had five shots on target in two games, yet Bradford had one more than that on Tuesday alone. They lost 3-2 to Doncaster, but came close to pushing the game to extra time despite Romain Vincelot’s sending off with 29 minutes of the 90 remaining.

Two forwards got off the mark, Dominic Poleon and Alex Jones, the latter a substitute for Omari Patrick, who has himself caught the eye. Jake Reeves hasn’t scored yet, but the early signs are that he is capable of creativity and leadership, the latter a key trait given the summer departures.

Gillingham won’t be rolled over, but Bradford have a little more mobility and finesse in forward areas.

The Football Lab’s Verdict: 1-2

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