A busy winter period commences for Salford City this Saturday when Bradford City visit The Peninsula Stadium in Sky Bet League Two.
The condensed 2020-21 campaign means that clubs are scheduled to play more mid-week games than ever before, and with the exception of Christmas week The Ammies now have one every week until the end of the calendar year.
It comes on the back of the first full week of training that Richie Wellens has had since his appointment at the start of November.
After last week’s defeat at Bolton Wanderers it was an ideal time for the manager to spend with the players, and so far the reaction has been good.
“When you have a performance like the first half against Bolton, which is not ideal, what you want is you want a reaction from the players, and the first reaction that they can have is come in on Monday morning and train properly, and I have to say Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, they trained really, really well.
“We just want to continue that now leading towards what is the most important thing which is a game on Saturday against Bradford.”
Each of Wellens’ three games so far have been in different competitions, allowing him to have a thorough look at his squad which he has done with 25 players being used in the course of those three games.
With this run coming up though, the manager says he will be starting to look for consistency and hopes results will come with that.
“I think sometimes players enjoy playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday because therefore there’s less training, and once you get in the zone and you’re used to playing games it can become really helpful. Sometimes when you’re losing it’s not helpful because you want time on the training ground to work on things.
“It’s been difficult because obviously I wanted to see all of the players but I’m hoping in the next five to six weeks we can get a settled team and start seeing the things we want to see, and if we get a settled team Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday then we can start racking up some results on the spin.”
Salford will be without James Wilson, who joins Darron Gibson on the sidelines with injury, while Richie Towell also remains unavailable.
Even with the pandemic growing at the time, not many people could have predicted that when Bradford last visited in March it would be the last football we played until August/September. The Bantams in particular will always be left wondering whether they would have crept into the play-offs or not having finished ninth on points per game.
An underwhelming performance at The Peninsula Stadium saw them leave on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat, but it was a reflection of the away form which cost them the few points difference between their position and the play-offs. This term in four games they have won one of four, away at Mansfield Town, but they are unbeaten in two league games having beaten Southend and drawn against Exeter last weekend.
“They’re very physical, they try to get it forward as quickly as possible, the wing backs at every opportunity put balls in your box so there’ll be stages of the game where centre-backs need to defend their box very well.
“They’re a team that have been at this level for quite a while, it’s too-big of a club to be at this level. I went to the Exeter game, Bradford v Exeter at Bradford last week, last Saturday, and Exeter should have been out of sight at half time so there is things that we can expose but if you don’t press the ball and turn it over, and allow them to put balls down the channels for Donaldson, for Clarke, to run onto and set back they will put loads of ball in your box so we have to be aware of that.”
HOW TO WATCH
Saturday’s game is available to watch online via live.salfordcityfc.co.uk for £10 in the UK or £7 overseas. Season Ticket Holders can watch by redeeming the code sent out in September if you haven’t already done so.
Thank you to all supporters who purchase a live stream, the revenues are supporting clubs during this time!
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