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Club News


A look ahead at Good Friday's opponents

6 April 2023

Club News


A look ahead at Good Friday's opponents

6 April 2023

Crawley will play play-off hopefuls Bradford City on Good Friday at Broadfield Stadium in a 3pm Sky Bet League Two kick-off. The Reds will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run against the Bantams over recent years whilst the visitors will want to extend their eight-game unbeaten run in the league with an away win.


The Manager - Mark Hughes

Hughes is an experienced manager who has taken charge of over 600 games throughout his career - including more than 450 in the Premier League. He has also finished in the top 10 in the top-flight of English football on eight separate occasions. Hughes had managed the Welsh national team in 1999, while still playing elite club football for a few more seasons.

Initially appointed on a temporary basis alongside Neville Southall to replace Bobby Gould, Hughes had soon done enough to earn himself a long-term contract, with Southall eventually leaving the set-up. When he took over, Wales were going through a bad patch but in the five years with Hughes in charge, Wales came close to qualifying for UEFA Euro 2004.

In their Euro 2004 qualifying group, Wales ended up second, beating Italy 2–1 in Cardiff in the process, but was denied a place in the final tournament after losing to Russia in the playoffs. Hughes went on to manage Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City, and Southampton. In his playing days, the Welshman had multiple spells at Manchester United and returned to the club in 1988 for a then-club-record fee of £1.8 million.

As he had done in his first spell at Old Trafford, Hughes proved to be a dynamic goalscorer and was a key player for the club over the next seven years. Hughes also spent time at Barcelona, Bayern Munich (loan), Chelsea, Southampton, Everton, and Blackburn Rovers. 

He scored 224 goals throughout his playing career. Hughes made the shock move to Bradford City after Derek Adams was dismissed at Valley Parade in February 2022. This was the first time that Hughes had managed a team outside of the top flight of English Football.

Harry Lewis

Harry signed for the Bantams from Premier League side Southampton on an initial two-year deal until 2024. The 6ft 4ins shot-stopper previously worked with Mark Hughes when he was manager of the Saints during 2018. Having made just three first-team appearances on the south coast, Lewis will be hoping to make the number one spot his own this season at Valley Parade. Lewis has represented England at under-18 level. 

On 24 September 2014, he came on to the field to make his England U18s debut, replacing goalkeeper and captain Freddie Woodman in a 2–0 friendly defeat away to Italy at the Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato. In March 2023, the Bradford shot-stopper went viral for handling the ball outside of the penalty area after confusing the rugby markings on the pitch at Newport County. The goalkeeper was not sent off for the incident, having been given the benefit of the doubt by the referee.

Scott Banks

Banks joined Dundee United at youth level from Linlithgow Rose Boys Club in 2013. After being top scorer for the United under-17 team the previous season, he signed his first professional contract with the club in 2018. In February 2019, Banks joined League Two club Clyde on loan for the rest of the 2018–19 season, quickly becoming a "fans' favourite".

He scored the club's goal of the season against Peterhead. Scotland Under-21 international Scott Banks joined Crystal Palace from Scottish Championship side Dundee United on a three-year deal in 2020. Banks played 17 times for Palace in the 2021/22 Premier League 2 – scoring 10 goals. He joined City on a season-long loan after previous loan spells at Alloa Athletic and Dunfermline Athletic.

Andy Cook

After spending the second half of the 2020/2021 season on loan with the Bantams, Andy signed permanently from Mansfield Town on a two-year deal in June 2021. The 31-year-old finished as City’s top goal-scorer last season, scoring 12 goals in 39 appearances. Cook’s form has hit a new high in the 2022/23 season. The experienced striker has over 400 career appearances to his name so far and has scored 23 goals in League Two. 

His impressive form has seen him make a meteoric rise to the top of the goalscoring charts at Valley Parade. Cook has gone one more and topped the league goalscoring charts. He is currently three goals ahead of Northampton Town’s Sam Hoskins. Cook’s impressive goalscoring form has seen him pick up several Player of the Month of Awards and a nomination for the Player of the Month Award for March in Sky Bet League Two.


Bradford City have had a sturdy season this time around in League Two under Mark Hughes, currently sitting in sixth place ahead of our fixture on Good Friday. The Bantams have only lost once in their last 14 league games, and have an eight game unbeaten streak before facing the Reds.

Hughes’ side have the league’s top goalscorer in established EFL striker, Andy Cook. The 32-year-old has 23 goals in 38 appearances so far but was unable to score against Crawley back in October when we travelled to Valley Parade.

Bradford have scored a total of 48 goals in the league this season, only conceding 34. They have also kept clean sheets in 42% of their matches this season, and have a 2.16 average goals per game rating. They are also slightly more successful in all departments away from home, winning 50% of away games, conceding less and scoring more than at home.


Crawley have faced the Bantams on thirteen occasions since 2011. With only two draws within these battles, the Reds have been victorious on seven 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 at Valley Parade in a game that would later be named as the “Battle of Bradford” to many Crawley supporters and those within the media. 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.

The Reds are unbeaten in our last six meetings with Bradford, recording some impressive results on memorable occasions for the club. In 2020, a first-half Ollie Palmer brace was enough to record a 2-1 victory at home to Friday’s opponents, and then 11 months later we drew 1-1 at Broadfield Stadium.

In April 2021, the Reds were 0-2 victors at Valley Parade on a momentous day. Goals were scored by centre-half pair Joe McNerney and Jordan Tunnicliffe who both netted fantastic headers to defy the odds when Bradford were favourites.

Then in September, Crawley won again and this time at home, as it was the wing-backs who were the unlikely goalscorers. Will Ferry and Nick Tsaroulla scored impressive goals in a 2-1 victory which saw memorable celebrations in West Sussex. 

Crawley made it three victories in a row against the Bantams in January of 2022 in arguably the most memorable away win of recent years. Andy Cook opened the scoring in the first-half for Bradford but Tom Nichols was able to equalise after 71 minutes. As the game looked a certain draw with seconds remaining, Jack Powell delivered a pinpoint long ball into the area which was met by Tony Craig who rose to give Crawley a dramatic late winner.


Our last fixture with Bradford came earlier in the season in October, when we played out a 1-1 draw away from home under interim boss Lewis Young.

At the half-time break the game was goalless in an even start, but the home side came out sharper in the second half, with Dion Pereira scoring just ten minutes in.

The Reds didn’t let the hosts lead for long as James Tilley powered in an impressive close-range free-kick that bulleted beyond the wall and goalkeeper Lewis. The final 30 minutes of the game saw chances for both sides but the affair finished level.


Crawley Town 23/10

Draw 12/5

Bradford City 21/20

*Odds correct at the time of writing from league betting partners Sky Bet. Please gamble responsibly.


If you cannot make the game at Broadfield Stadium, the match will be available to watch on iFollow for all viewers for a price of £10. Commentary as always will be brought to you by BBC Sussex & Surrey Sport's Gary Smith who will be joined by Reds legend Tony Vessey.

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