The pre-season target for both of these teams was without doubt, promotion. Therefore, it is not a surprise to see them occupy places in the top half of the table coming into this game. It was a fairly slow start to the campaign for Bradford City A.F.C., and saw them pick up two draws in the league, and then be dumped out of the League Cup by Preston North End F.C.. However, the Bantams now come into this game on the back of consecutive victories over Oldham Athletic A.F.C. and Stevenage F.C., propelling them into 2nd position. Forest Green Rovers F.C. have also enjoyed a decent start to the season, with only 1 loss from their first 4 league games. If Rovers can battle to a win against the hosts, they will leapfrog them in the table.
Bradford City What To Watch
Following relegation after a dismal season in League One last season, it was inevitable that Bradford would make a whole host of signings. Although it is still early in the season, one new player who looks to have made a real difference is Ben Richards-Everton. The former Accrington Stanley F.C. defender has dropped down a division in search of regular first team football. So far he seems to have been granted that by Bantams manager Gary Bowyer. With only one goal conceded in the league thus far, Bradford fans will be hoping Richards-Everton and the rest of the defence keep their opposition from scoring once again this weekend.
One player who has stayed with club after last season is wide midfielder Sean Scannell. He joined the club at the start of last season following a six year stay with Huddersfield Town A.F.C., and looked to be a major coup of a signing initially. However, injury plagued Scannell last season and his appearances in the team were severely limited. Despite not starting the first couple of games this campaign, the London wide man has since been brought into the side, scoring in the 3-0 win over Oldham. If Scannell can avoid injury, he will be one of the standout players in League Two this season.
Bradford’s strike force may well be the deadliest in the division. Both Clayton Donaldson and James Vaughan have plenty of experience at a higher level with Vaughan being the youngest player to score a goal in Premier League history after netting for Everton F.C. at the age of 16 years and 270 days. Donaldson didn’t get much of a chance with Hull City A.F.C. in his youth and had to fight his way back up from non-league to earn moves to a number of EFL Championship sides. Although, the veteran striker is coming towards the latter stage of his career, Bradford will be hoping he can contribute enough goals towards an instant return to League one come May.
Forest Green Rovers What To Watch
After achieving promotion from The National League in 2018, Forest Green finished in a very creditable 5th position, eventually losing in the play-offs. One thing manager Mark Cooper decided must be done in the middle of last season was sign loan defender Nathan McGinley on a permanent signing. The former Middlesbrough F.C. defender has started every competitive game this season and is without doubt part of Cooper’s long-term plans for the club. McGinley will have to play his very best to keep out the opposition attack on Saturday or the visitors could be in for a long afternoon.
Cooper has also decided to bring in another young player with loan signing of James Morton from Bristol City F.C.. It is always a gamble for managers to bring in loan players as there will always be uncertainties over whether a player can perform at a certain level. With Morton being on loan at National League South side Bath City F.C., Cooper will not have had much chance to see how he can perform at League Two level beforehand. Although, Morton has started all but one game for Rovers so far this season, adapting to his new surroundings very well indeed.
Despite the mainly positive results in the early part of the season, Forest Green Rovers have failed to score more than one goal in each match so far. They will be hoping the form of Aaron Collins will improve significantly after joining the club this summer. The striker joined the club following the end of his contract with Morecambe F.C. where he averaged a goal every other game but has not been able to bring that form with him to Gloucestershire as of yet, failing to score this season so far. Maybe he will find his shooting boots at Valley Parade.
Bradford City vs Forest Green Rovers Prediction
This is a very tough one to call. Both teams will be vying for the promotion places come the end of the season and this game may well be a tight encounter. However, my feeling is that Bradford City will come out on top, but only just.
Prediction: Bradford City - 2 Forest Green Rovers - 1