It's the preseason that doesn't stop! Just yesterday the squad returned from their (highly successful) U.S. tour (deemed to be the "longest trip ever" by Marcos Alonso) and today they travel to the fantastically named Valley Parade to take on Bradford City. It won't be foreign ground for Robbie Blake, who spent 5 years at the club. In fact, it was Blake who scored a goal in the final match of the 1998/99 season to cement Bradford's second place position and promotion to the Premiership. In the almost 10 years since Blake left, the club has slipped through the divisions and are now playing in League Two.
In an interview with the official site, Blake said of this:
"It's disappointing to see where they are now but hopefully things can turn around quickly for them... a club of Bradford's size don't deserve to be in League Two. They have got good facilities and a great ground. Their average attendance is one of the highest in the division and they have got a top manager in Peter Jackson who will give them a real push for promotion this forthcoming season."
This will be Bradford's first match against league opposition this preseason, and it will prove a tough one even if Coyle does field a weakened side. Luckily for them, any Bolton player will be fatigued from travel and jetlag. Despite this, manager Peter Jackson acknowledges:
"It will be a big test for us, a big challenge - our biggest yet (this pre-season). It's obviously our first match back at Valley Parade following last season, so it is important that we put on a good performance in front of our own fans. There's always a bit of a buzz about when a Premiership side comes to your own ground."
This should be a good opportunity for Coyle to give some more inexperienced players a run out to see what they've got. I would like him to try and bring up a couple more reserve players, as our squad desperately needs the padding. Every preseason match brings us 90 minutes closer to the regular season, and I'd really like another win from this one.