AND WELLS DO THE JOB
Parky’s purring as duo deliver
BRADFORD strikers James Hanson and Nahki Wells are going to give League One defenders all the trouble they can handle this season.
So says manager Phil Parkinson, who heaped praise on his two frontmen after seeing his side twice come from behind to earn an opening day point at Ashton Gate.
Hanson and Wells combined for the first Bradford goal and the combination of Hanson’s height and strength with Wells’ speed and sharpness looked a potent combination.
Parkinson said: “James and Nahki were almost unplayable at times today. They were immense.
“They came up against what was basically a Championship back-four and goalkeeper, yet still showed what a handful they can be.
“We fully deserved our point. Bristol’s second goal came against the run of play after we had dominated the start of the second half.
“When we fell behind we had to call on the strength and belief in each other which we showed throughout last season.
“While we might have done better with their goals, I prefer to dwell on the positives because it was a very encouraging start.”
Bristol went ahead for the first time on 11 minutes when two of their summer recruits combined.
Scott Wagstaff fired home rightfooted from 12 yards after Jay Emmanuel-Thomas had forced his way into the box.
Sean O’Driscoll’s men looked comfortable on their lead until a defensive mix-up on 33 minutes saw Hanson break between their two centre-backs.
Goalkeeper Frank Fielding made a poor decision to race out to the corner of his penalty area and Hanson rounded him before crossing for Wells to shoot past the only covering defender on the line.
The impressive Emmanuel-Thomas, a former Arsenal junior under Arsene Wenger, slotted home left-footed from a Sam Baldock cross on 58 minutes to restore Bristol City’s advantage, but Bradford’s dominant centre-back Rory McArdle had the final say on proceedings as he nipped in unmarked at the near post to glance home a 79th minute corner from substitute Raffaele De Vita and send more than 1,000 travelling fans into ecstacy.
Bristol City head coach O’Driscoll was far from discouraged by the performance of a team including five new signings.
He said: “It will take time to bed them all in and there was a lot of good in how we started the game and the way the players went about their business.
“We gave away two very poor goals and were guilty of surrendering possession too easily at times, which is disappointing and we need to work on that.
“But Jay Emmanuel-Thomas showed what a threat he will be in this league and if we can get him a bit fitter he will be an even greater force this season.
“There is a lot to work on, but I could see things to build upon and we will get better.”
Asked for the latest on winger Albert Adomah’s proposed £1 million move to Middlesbrough, O’Driscoll said: “It has been on and off so many times I’ve lost count.
“I didn’t feel it was fair on the lad to play him today and await the outcome like everyone else.
“We have to make up our mind as a club whether we want to sell Albert.
“If we do, then these things happen and you get on with it.
“If we don’t I would like him settled and part of the squad.”
For all Bradford’s good play, goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin had to make a fine late save from a Greg Cunningham header to preserve a point.
But Bradford will be pleased with their first performance of the new season.
DUEL: Bristol City’s Neil Kilkenny, right, challenges Bradford City’s Nahki Wells