How Dom’s making his mark at new club Bradford City
DOMINIC Poleon’s flying start to life at Bradford City may have the forward dreaming big – but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to announce his goal target to the world just yet.
Making a good first impression is vital in any new job and, with three goals in his first five games after signing from AFC Wimbledon for an undisclosed fee this summer, the 24-year-old has done exactly that at Valley Parade.
Poleon is already well on his way to matching last season’s tally of 13 strikes in all competitions, a haul which helped the Dons finish comfortably in mid-table in their first-ever League One campaign.
When pushed, the former Leeds man admits that beating that target is one of his aims but, for the time being, he is content just to feel at home back in West Yorkshire.
“It’s been really good so far. Settling in is one of the things you want to do as quickly as possible,” said Poleon. “Getting used to how the team play and where you can fit in. I think I’ve been doing that.
“I’ve been scoring, too, and long may that continue. It’s all about goals. That’s my personal thing, but, as a striker, if I cannot score them, I have to make them.
“I’ve got some personal targets, but I’ll keep those to myself ! Let’s just say it’s to get as many goals as possible. I got 13 last year, which wasn’t too bad, but I want to better that this time around.
“Goals should help the club get wins. Everybody knows our aims and where we want to take the club – and we have to keep working on that on the training field.”
What Poleon is not coy about are Bradford’s ambitions this term. It’s promotion or bust for Stuart McCall’s men, who were sixth heading into yesterday’s game at early pacesetters Peterborough.
Last season ended in heartbreak for the Bantams when Steve Morison’s 85th-minute effort in the League One playoff final sent Millwall into the Championship at their expense.
And, as an outsider coming into the squad, Poleon insists he can feel the motivating effect that defeat still has.
“There is a hunger,” he admits. “It’s no secret it was a huge disappointment last year. To fall at the final hurdle was a big blow.
“But, as a new player, you can see the group are incredibly determined to succeed and not have a repeat of that. We want to get promoted. There are no two ways about it.
“The play-off disappointment is at the forefront of why we will do better this year.
“Being at Wimbledon was good for me, it was one of the best seasons I’ve had.
“But I’m here now for a new challenge.
“I want to get to the Championship and, on a personal level, improve on last year. I’m keen to progress in my career and, when I spoke to the gaffer before signing here, his ambitions matched mine. Hopefully, we can reach those.”
Poleon wasn’t the only AFC Wimbledon star to make the move to Valley Parade over the summer, as 24-year-old midfielder Jake Reeves completed his switch about a month after the striker.
Manager McCall was a big reason why both men opted to trade south London for West Yorkshire. “The gaffer is straight-talking, tells you how it is. He can be hard and fair but we can have a laugh and joke too,” added Poleon.
“When it’s time to work, we work hard, but there’s that sense that we’re all in it together.
“You play under some managers who might not talk to you at all, but here the gaffer isn’t like that.
“He knows when to have a joke and when it’s serious.”
NET VALUE: Bradford City’s Dominic Poleon, right, in action against Blackburn and, inset, boss Stuart McCall EAGER: Billy Knott