12:00am Thursday 17th February 2000
Dean Saunders believes Bradford City's much-derided 'Dad's Army' hold the key to Premiership survival.
Boss Paul Jewell opted for experience in City's first season in the top flight with Saunders being one of several summer signings who were aged 30 or over.
In the 5-4 defeat at West Ham, City had seven 30-somethings in the starting line-up with another three on the bench.
Earlier this season, Jewell said: "They can call us Dad's Army if they want, but they are all quality players who are very fit"
And despite City being tagged 'Dad's Army', 35-year-old Saunders believes the side's experience will be a huge advantage.
He said: "I didn't say anything at the time, but I was worried after the Gillingham game. We had been beaten by a Second Division side and then just a few days later we lost at Sheffield.
"I think they played very well that day but from the stand it must have looked like we had no confidence. But we have bounced back from that.
"The fact we have more experienced players has helped us in that respect. We know we can't play fantastic football every week.
"But when you have been in the game a few years, you know that even if you don't play so well in one game there is always the chance to bounce back the following week.
"When a player is not so experienced, he can get a bit downhearted. It can all be doom and gloom.
"These are the type of things we talked about at the start of the season and having so much experience undoubtedly helps us."
The Welsh veteran has also revealed how helping City avoid relegation this season would rank as the biggest achievement of his successful career.
Saunders has won FA Cup and League Cup winners medals in this country along with 73 international caps for Wales.
He has also enjoyed success in Portugal and Turkey, but it is City's battle for survival which is driving him at the moment.
He said: "I am really enjoying myself here and the confidence among the side is growing all the time.
"When I signed, I knew we wouldn't be hammering sides and I wouldn't be rifling in goals every week.
"But if we manage to stay up, I think it would be the biggest achievement of my career. I have won things before but being part of a Bradford side which stays up would be a similar achievement.
"The expectancy of the fans this season is 'Can we stay up?' Maybe next year they will want more but at the moment they are sticking with us and the atmosphere is terrific."
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