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Mind coach visits a 'no-brainer' for Bantams hot-shot James Hanson
James Hanson’s mind is on the job of spearheading City’s ambitious rise through League One.
The onus has been on the big man without Nahki Wells at his shoulder – and with five goals so far, he is on course to hit the 20 target he has set himself.
It’s not just physical strength that has got Hanson on top of his game so far. Mentally, he is more confident as a player than ever.
Hanson is among the half-dozen Bantams players who still regularly visit Cleckheaton mind coach John Muranka and believes it makes a significant difference.
He said: “I first tried it in my second year but didn’t feel I was getting anything from the sessions. Maybe I didn’t stick at it long enough.
“Luke Oliver has seen John for three or four years and, of course, got the player-of-the-year award. You’ve got to be open-minded.
“I had another go in the past year or two and really enjoy it now.
“It’s not a quick fix. The first month you don’t notice anything but it does work over time.
“More of the players are starting to see him so obviously he’s doing something right.”
Phil Parkinson has been a long-time admirer of sports psychology since first going himself towards the end of his playing career.
“The gaffer said it probably added two or three per cent to his game,” added Hanson. “So if it’s doing that, it’s a no-brainer.
“Since I’ve been seeing John, I feel it’s helped with all parts of my game. After Wembley, I’ve scored quite a lot of goals.
“John’s a Bradford fan and it’s nice to catch up. At first, you see him once a week until he gets to know you but now it’s every fortnight.
“It’s just about ticking over round the games, talking about how you could have done and general things.
“About five or six of us are doing it at the moment and we’re probably looking to add more.”
Strike partner Wells set the bar high in the summer when he predicted a 30-goal campaign. Hanson is confident he can score enough himself to bring up the half-century as a pair.
“I want to push that 20 barrier. I feel I should have probably got there last year but had that long spell when I went without scoring.
“If I’d kept the form that I had after Wembley, I would have probably got 25.
“There have been games when I should have scored goals but missed easy chances. I’m still having nightmares about the one at Gillingham.
“But it’s nice to be putting chances away, especially without our main scorer as well.
“There are going to be spells in the season when I dry up a little bit but I’m definitely looking to get over that 20 mark, which would be a great start for League One.”
With five in 11 league outings so far, Hanson is certainly on track. The next three games for City could also be a good indicator of whether the team have got what it takes to keep their own early momentum.
He said: “At the end of next week, we’ll start to see if we’re definitely going to be challenging. Crawley and Preston away are going to be tough and then Wolves will be a massive game at Valley Parade.
“But I know what we’re capable of. This is a great squad and I don’t think we have anything to fear.”
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