Kenny Jackett has backed Bradford to be in the promotion shake-up this season as Wolves prepare for a tough test at Valley Parade tomorrow (3pm).
The Bantams have carried on the success of last season – League Two play-off winners and Capital One Cup finalists – into the new campaign and are sitting in fifth position ahead of Wolves’ visit.
And that is why the Molineux Head Coach is predicting one of Wolves’ toughest assignments of the season.
“They are having a good season and will be in a positive place tomorrow,” said Jackett.
“They have a big centre forward and will play off him with two good wide players
“They will get a lot of balls into the box and be strong at set pieces
“It will be a different challenge for us physically against a club and a manager I have a lot of respect for.
“Phil is a good guy – he did a very good job at Colchester where they got promoted to the Championship and then I think he left to go to Hull.
“He’s an experienced manager and they had a tremendous season last year when you look at everything they did.
“And it’s no surprise they have continued in similar form because the place would have been positive after such a good season, and also the potential for the club is there.
“Having been promoted they are the opposite of ourselves in mentally everything was very positive going into the summer and coming into this season.
“You look at the crowds they get and the stadium, it’s one of the clubs in League One that is geared to go to the Championship.
“It’s no surprise that that have done very well and I feel both Bradford and Rotherham would have enough capabilities to certain get themselves into the top six this season.
“By end of the season I am sure there will be there or thereabouts as one of the bigger clubs in this divison.”
One of Bradford’s chief threat is also a winger whom, during a loan spell at Wolves in the 2008/09 season, scored the goal which clinched the Championship title at Barnsley.
Kyel Reid has been in excellent form, and Jackett admits will give Wolves’ full backs – likely to be Scott Golbourne and Richard Stearman – a good challenge.
“Reid has had a very good season for them,” added Jackett.
“He’s very quick and direct after a slow start to his career at West Ham as a kid and at Charlton with Phil.
“He’s dropped down a couple of levels and it looks like he’s on the way back up.
“So for Richard (Stearman) it will be a big test.
“There have also been times when they put Reid on the other side cutting inside on his left foot so both our full backs are going to have to be on top form and midfield-wise, make sure we double up on him.
“But I’m very confident Richard will do a good job.
“Generally anyway those five guys have filled the back four positions or a combination of them, and, when you put Carl Ikeme into that as well, it’s been quite a good department for us.
“It’s not just the goals against column, but when you look at them on the ball, the boys at the back have done well and they continually look to improve.
“It’s good that we’ve got someone like Richard to come in.”
Staying on the subject of defenders Jackett has revealed that both Kevin Foley and George Elokobi are unavailable for selection through injury, but should resume training next week.
“Foley is injured at the moment – as is Elokobi,” he explained.
“Foley got an ankle injury in the Notts County game and Elokobi got a knee injury a few days after that.
“So neither of those were available on Tuesday or tomorrow but both should be training in the early part of next week.”
And as Wolves look to try and keep in touch with the hot pace set by Sky Bet League One frontrunners Leyton Orient and Peterborough, Jackett says there would never be a bad time to gatecrash the division’s top two.
“We haven’t been in the top two yet this season but we want to try to earn automatic promotion so we want to be in there if we can,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s ever too soon to get in there – if you could be top from day one right to the end, you would.”
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