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MANAGER: The crowd will make it a brilliant atmosphere

More from the manager ahead of tonight's game

14 May 2023

Club News

MANAGER: The crowd will make it a brilliant atmosphere

More from the manager ahead of tonight's game

14 May 2023

It was more the fact that it’s a Sunday rather than the 7pm kick off that prompted a question this week on preparation, with the players obviously used to midweek kick-offs throughout the season that have similar start times.

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“You can adjust,” manager Paul Simpson insisted. “I think in modern day football you have to be adaptable for kick off timings. It can get thrown at you at any time, so it isn’t an issue.

“Sunday, 7pm, I don’t go to church anyway, so it won’t be affecting anything I do. It’s a brilliant game to look forward to.

“If they’d told us we were kicking off at midnight I wouldn’t have given a monkeys. I’m just delighted to be involved, I think it’s a great game to look forward to, and I’m quite sure all the players feel the same.”

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So with it being the first of two legs, does that lean towards a more cautious approach?

“We won’t be cautious, but we aren’t going to go and absolutely unload and open ourselves up to be done on counter-attacks and stuff like that,” he said. “We’ll go with the same mentality that we’ve had all season.

“We want to be solid defensively and we want to cause problems on the attack. We did that particularly well in the first half when we played at Valley Parade recently, and our second half performance had to be different because we needed to dig in and defend for our lives.

“We quite easily could have nicked it at the end with Jordan Gibson’s shot from the last kick of the game, so we’ll approach it with the same mentality. What I will add is that we know we need to be better than we have been over recent weeks.

“If we want to achieve anything we need to get our level of performance up. Let’s make sure that the 46 games we’ve had count by us going full steam ahead and doing it right.”

United have, in the past, taken significant leads into second legs only to be pegged back and taken all the way to the wire, with the lesson from that being for everyone to remember that whatever happens, it’s only half time when the final whistle blows on Sunday night.

“If we can’t win this game we have to make sure we’re still involved in the tie,” the manager commented. “That’s all I’m thinking about. I want to win at Bradford, that’s the only thing I’ve got in my mind.

“If we can’t win we have to make sure we don’t lose. Anybody who is listening to me waffle on through the whole of this season, that’s been the message, whether that be the first one against Crawley, the New Year’s Day game at Doncaster, we said the same things. Go there to win it. If you can’t, don’t lose.

“And with the play-offs I also think it’s all about going and enjoying it, and really embracing it. These are the games you want to be involved in. We have an opportunity to go out and do ourselves proud, our supporters proud, the football club proud, but as important as that is making our own families proud.

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“We’ve got so much to play for. I’ve got an incredible weekend this weekend. With Jake involved in a play-off game, Joe is on the line in a League One play-off game, Dom’s got two shows in London, I’m at Bradford.

“As a family, what a brilliant week to look forward to. I’m extremely proud of what the boys are doing, and our players have an opportunity to make their families proud as well.”

Also there to be made to feel proud, as they have bene all season, is our very noisy Blue Army.

“If we can go and give a performance and get a result then we can thank the ones who make the trip down to Bradford,” he commented. “Hopefully there will be plenty of people watching back at home as well, then we can make sure we thank all of our home fans next week when we come back to Brunton Park for the second leg.

“The only way I look at it is the crowd will make it a brilliant atmosphere and the sort of game we want to be involved in. The crowd won’t win or lose the game, it’s about the players on the pitch. The crowd will make it a brilliant occasion.

“They’re two proper sets of football supporters. They are real, genuine football supporters. That sounds a silly thing to say but that doesn’t happen everywhere else, not all clubs are genuine football supporters, but I think Bradford City and certainly us.

“We are really fortunate to have real football supporters who understand what it’s like to support their teams properly, and hopefully it will be ours who are making the noise come Sunday evening.”


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