Bantams hitman Wells on why he and Hanson are such a striking combination (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bantams hitman Nahki Wells gives the lowdown on why he and James Hanson are such a striking combination
MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: James Hanson is the first to congratulate Nahki Wells after his goal against Bristol City on the opening day of the season
It sounds the unlikeliest double act – one from the Caribbean, the other from the Co-op. But together they are lethal.
Brentford boss Uwe Rosler was the latest to add his eulogy after his side were put to the sword last week: “When you have two strikers like that, you will go a long way.”
For once, it was Hanson leading the way with two of City’s four goals. Although Wells, typically, kept his tally ticking on to seven as he chases down his ambitious 30-goal target.
It is a partnership that strikes fear into any League One defender. According to Wells, they have each taken “two steps forward” since the end of last season.
He said: “I think we tick all the boxes together. He’s strong and good in the air and I’m fit and very reactive to make the runs.
“We all know I’ve grabbed the headlines because I’ve been scoring but as a partnership, a lot of people don’t realise how much he does.
“It’s a hard side of the job. He challenges very well and is dominant in the air and I’m very good at judging where the ball is going to drop.
“With the bit of pace that I’ve got, I’m likely to get on the end of things. That’s why we work so well.
“We know we’re not in the Premier League where it’s pass and pass and pass.
“Sometimes you need that out ball and that’s why it’s so magnificent to have him in the team. He takes a lot of pressure off us.”
They are just as close off the pitch as on it. When the Bermudian turned up at Valley Parade in 2011, Hanson took him under his wing.
Wells added: “Big Jim helped me along all the way back to when I first came in.
“I couldn’t drive and he used to bring me into training and do whatever he could for me. I’m really grateful for that and that’s why our partnership has worked so well.
“He’s my mate on and off the pitch and that’s important.”
Wells can also see a bond from their humble football beginnings – his playing on tiny island, Hanson part-time in the lower leagues.
“We’ve similar backgrounds. He has helped my game along and I think I’ve done the same for him.
“You look at the player James Hanson was when I got here. That’s not the same James Hanson now.
“And I’m not the Nahki Wells that I was. We are different players.
“We’ve taken leaps and bounds forwards and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
City are due to open talks over a new contract with Hanson soon and Phil Parkinson acknowledges his contribution to the team – in both penalty areas – is crucial.
The City boss said: “We never underestimate his contribution and he is always at the heart of a lot of Nahki’s goals. Nahki appreciates what he does.
“I’m really pleased with Hans in terms of his assists and the job he is doing. But it’s good he got those goals last week because that’s important for any striker.
“The front two have adapted well but we know it’s early in the season. They’ve got to keep working hard on the training ground – if they do that, they’ll get the rewards.”
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