Derek Adams - Manager
After achieving an unlikely promotion with Morecambe last season, Derek Adams stepped away from a shot at League One management to take control of Bradford City, a side who are desperate to make that same leap up the football pyramid.
In 80 league games in charge of Morecambe, Adams achieved a points per game tally of 1.53, his highest in management so far, when many had Morecambe as favourites for relegation, and never expected such a high finish.
At 46, Adams has already been in control of four clubs, starting with Ross County in Scotland. In two separate spells either side of an assistant manager role at Hibernian, Adams has taken charge of 244 league games for County, before making a move to Devon to manage Plymouth in 2014.
The Scotsman spent five seasons at Argyle, and was in charge for a total of 1417 days. It was a successful reign with a 1.5 points per game tally, as Adams saw Plymouth back into League One with a League Two promotion in 2017 after finishing second behind Portsmouth on goal difference.
Adams orchestrated a marvellous promotion with Morecambe to League One last season but is finding it harder this campaign at Valley Parade, currently sitting in eleventh under some good recent form heading into this weekend’s game.
Jamie Walker - Midfielder
Scottish midfielder Jamie Walker joined the Bantams on loan earlier in January, and has already started in three consecutive games for Derek Adams’ side in a number ten role. Walker began his professional career at Hearts in 2011 where he had a loan spell to Raith before earning a place in the first-team at the age of 19.
Walker quickly grew into a star player for Hearts in the Scottish Premiership, scoring double figures in two different league campaigns. The midfielder has made a total of 141 Scottish Premiership appearances, scoring 31 goals. After six successful seasons in Edinburgh, Walker was signed by Wigan Athletic for £306,000. However it was not to be at the Latics, as Jamie made only eight league appearances, failing to score, before a loan move to League One Peterborough United.
The now 28-year-old spent the 2018-19 season at the Posh where he made twelve league appearances, scoring one goal. Walker was transferred back to Hearts in 2019, and again found form before a recent dip and loan to Adams’ side.
Walker is a creative midfield technician, with a real eye for goal and a skill in set-pieces. Adams will hope that the Scot will be able to form a partnership with another new signing, Tom Elliott, and both are likely to feature on Saturday.
Tom Elliott - Striker
This week Bradford made an acquisition for their forward line, taking experienced football league striker Tom Elliott on loan from Salford City. The 31-year-old has played for ten years across the EFL, starting at Leeds United where he was loaned to Macclesfield, Bury and Rotherham before making a permanent switch to Scotland’s Hamilton Academical where he played seven league games in the 2010/11 season, before making a switch to Stockport County.
Elliott scored seven times in 42 appearances for Stockport at 21 years of age, before making another move to Cambridge United in 2012. Over three seasons for the U’s, Elliott scored 26 goals in 83 games in a successful reign in Cambridge, before he moved on to AFC Wimbledon in 2015.
Elliott was a key starter for AFC Wimbledon between the 2015-17 seasons, playing 90 games including 81 in league competition. Tom scored 19 goals in this time which earned him a move to Championship Millwall, where he also stayed for two seasons. At Millwall, Elliott made 57 Championship appearances, scoring seven league goals, before making his way to Salford at the start of the 2019-20 season in what looked to be a marquee signing for the Ammies.
Across three seasons at Salford, Elliott has struggled for consistent starts and goals, scoring 6 goals in 50 appearances before this week’s loan move to Bradford.
Alex Bass - Goalkeeper
Alex Bass is a 23-year-old goalkeeper who signed for the Bantams on loan from League One Portsmouth only one week ago. Bass had only made two league starts for Pompey this season, as well as appearing in four EFL Trophy games.
Bass made an excellent impression on the Bradford fans last weekend as he was put straight into the starting lineup after signing. He starred in a 1-2 away win at Walsall and made 5 saves to help the Bantams achieve the three points, despite sharing only 37% of possession and having almost half the goal attempts.
The 23-year-old has had previous loan spells from Portsmouth, playing for Salisbury, Torquay United and Southend United before the recent move to Yorkshire.
Crawley have faced the Bantams on eleven occasions since 2011. With only one draw within these ten battles, the Reds have been victorious on six occasions, and Bradford only four. A game hosted at The People’s Pension Stadium in September 2011 ended in a 3-1 home victory to Crawley in League Two action. A Tyrone Barnett brace either side of a goal for Andy Drury was enough to overturn an early deficit caused by Bradford’s Kyel Reid.
Later that season, Crawley met with the Bantams in Yorkshire in a game that would later be named as the Battle of Bradford to many Crawley supporters. Five players were shown red in an unbelievable brawl which spiralled out of control on the pitch, as Crawley’s Kyle McFadzean and Claude Davis were sent off as well as three Bradford players. Leon Clarke and Gary Alexander struck either side of a Chris dagnall leveller to give Crawley the three points, meaning they recorded the double over Bradford in a terrific debut season in League Two.
Bradford met with Crawley in League One in 2013, and again the Reds’ dominance was displayed with a professional 1-0 victory in Broadfield. Between 2014 and 2019, the sides met on four more occasions, but the dominance quickly swayed when the Bantams picked up four consecutive victories over Crawley, four of these being in Bradford.
But since this spell again things have changed, with John Yems’ leadership Crawley remain unbeaten against the Bantams in three previous meetings. In January 2020, Ollie Palmer’s early brace created too much of a mountain to climb for the away side, who could only salvage one consolation goal as the game finished 2-1.
Then nearly a year later in December, the sides met again, and despite a tally of Crawley chances throughout the game, Yems’ men were unable to find a winner as the game finished 1-1. The away fixture last season was a spectacle, as centre-halves Jordan Tunnicliffe and Joe McNerney both headed in as underdogs Crawley headed back to Sussex with a 0-2 away win and three points to show for their efforts.
Earlier this season, Crawley were 2-1 victors over Bradford in West Sussex as Will Ferry and Nick Tsaroulla were the scorers before Callum Cooke’s consolation.
Since the turn of the year, Derek Adams’ Bradford have picked up a solid run of form, winning three, drawing one and losing one in 2022. The defeat was at the hands of Carlisle United away from home in a 2-0 defeat, as the Bantams failed to record a shot on target.
Besides that result, Bradford earned a point in a 0-0 draw at Rochdale, and also recorded three 2-1 victories against Barrow, Salford and Walsall. Striker Andy Cook scored in two of these victories, and with the recent injury to partner Lee Angol, Bradford will be hoping that new signing Tom Elliott will add something to the attack.
Following a fantastic five-game unbeaten run, Crawley are now winless in three after a 1-1 draw against Carlisle two weeks ago, and narrow defeats to both Stevenage and Tranmere Rovers. The Reds impressed in Carlisle as ex-Blue Ashley Nadesan gave Yems’ men a lead 25 minutes in with a cool finish, but the number ten missed a penalty in the second-half to double the lead, as the home side clinched a painful 93rd minute equaliser thanks to substitute Lewis Alessandra.
HOW THEY BET*
Bradford City 8/11
Crawley Town 7/2
*Odds of betting partners SkyBet at time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.