Bradford (Park Avenue) welcome a side that carry a lot of expectation on their shoulders to the Horsfall Stadium this afternoon as Stockport County provide the opposition.
Boasting a squad brimming with talent, the Hatters are among the favourites to gain promotion this season after losing narrowly to Chorley in the elimination round of last season’s play-offs.
They kick-started their 2018/19 campaign in style, convincingly disposing of F.C United of Manchester on the opening day with an emphatic 5-1 win. A defeat to York City followed, but Jim Gannon’s side put Southport to the sword after a late winner from former Republic of Ireland under-21 international Conor Dimaio. Guiseley visited Edgeley Park on Tuesday, holding the Hatters to a 1-1 draw.
County triumphed on their last visit to the Horsfall back in March 2018, as a crowd of 1,044 watched midfielder James Ball claim a 3-2 win for the visitors with a stoppage-time volley.
Today’s opponents will be keen to start showing consistency as they look to establish themselves as front-runners in the promotion race, but will be facing a confident Bradford.
The hosts have won three of their opening four games, and are yet to concede at the Horsfall Stadium following 1-0 wins over Brackley Town and Spennymoor Town at their West Yorkshire home.
There are several ex-Hatters in the Bradford squad, including Mark Ross, Gianluca Havern, Danny Boshell, Ben McKenna and Oli Johnson.
GUIDE TO THE OPPONENTS:
Gannon is currently enjoying his third spell as Stockport manager, having previously taken the reigns between 2005 and 2009, and 2011 and 2013. He led the Hatters to promotion from League Two via the play-offs in 2008 and kept the club afloat in League One despite a ten-point deduction. Gannon has experience of managing in the Championship following a spell in charge of Peterborough United in 2010, and has also managed Dundalk, Motherwell, Port Vale and Northwich Victoria. As a player, he made over 350 appearances for Stockport and also played in Yorkshire with Sheffield United and Halifax Town.
One To Watch:
Bradford supporters are already aware of the talent possessed by 21-year-old Mulhern, who helped fire the club into to the play-offs during a loan spell at the Horsfall Stadium last season. A pacey and powerful forward, he can also operate on the wing and was utilised in both positions by Mark Bower during his time in Bradford. He dropped into non-league football with Guiseley after leaving Huddersfield Town, who swooped for him after his shock departure from Leeds United. After finding first-team opportunities at Nethermoor limited, he spent time on loan at Harrogate Town and Alfreton Town before joining Bradford on a temporary basis in February 2018. The former Republic of Ireland youth international was quickly off the mark for his new club, netting Stockport’s first in a 5-1 drubbing of F.C United of Manchester on the opening day.