Rory McArdle: Bantams defence has been a real tour de four-ce

Rory McArdle has been at the heart of City’s resolute rearguard during their recent run of good form on their travels. Here he is carrying out a no-nonsense tackle on Brentford’s Clayton Donaldson

Rory McArdle has been at the heart of City’s resolute rearguard during their recent run of good form on their travels. Here he is carrying out a no-nonsense tackle on Brentford’s Clayton Donaldson

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford City Reporter

Rory McArdle aims to extend City’s reputation as mean guests by making it four clean sheets in a row on their travels today.

The Northern Ireland international wants Swindon added to the list that contains Leyton Orient, Coventry and Rotherham as another host shut out by the Bantams.

McArdle and Co have not conceded a goal on the road since the stoppage-time stunner at Shrewsbury a month ago.

And after claiming another clean sheet in Good Friday’s Valley Parade victory over Peterborough, he is hungry to keep that miserliness going.

McArdle said: “A fourth away clean sheet on the bounce would be a brilliant achievement. As a defender, that’s what you strive for.

“You look at the table and want to see a positive goal difference. After that, you see how many goals you’ve conceded compared to everyone else.

“It should be better but it’s still reasonably okay and we’re on a good run at the moment.

“The emphasis is on the home team but you’re going to their patch and want to be nice and solid and show them what you’re about.

“We’ve done well against the teams up the top lately. It’s nice to do that when nobody fancies you to get a result. Our win at Leyton Orient must have been a coupon-buster for everyone’s bets. But it shows what we are capable of doing.”

Andrew Davies was suffering after being trodden on by Peterborough striker Britt Assombalonga and City will check on his fitness.

But Parkinson has been pleased with the resolute nature of his back four.

The City chief said: “(Adam) Drury and (Stephen) Darby are very good full backs in terms of covering. They’re not outside looking in, they are always taking up good positions.

“And Davies and McArdle have proved that when we do get them together, we do get clean sheets.”

Having blanked three of the four current play-off contenders, City could kill off Swindon’s chances of sneaking past Peterborough into sixth spot.

Mark Cooper’s Robins kept their hopes alive thanks to Michael Smith’s last-gasp goal against Coventry on Friday. With City then seeing off Posh, Swindon are now four points behind.

Highly-rated Spurs loanee Alex Pritchard scored a superb individual equaliser when the teams drew 1-1 at Valley Parade in December. But McArdle felt it was a goal they should have stopped.

“Swindon passed it about well that day and caused us a few problems,” he added. “But you look at the goal we let in and we should have dealt with that much better.

“If we see that out, we win the game 1-0. That’s the difference some times – you just need to keep that back door shut as long as we can.

“We’ve shown we can do that in our last three away games, so defensively we should be very confident.

“But it’s important that we keep our standards high and don’t switch off. Do that against a team like Swindon and you can soon find yourselves three or four down.

“It’s our last long trip of the season and it’s important we get something. Being a bank holiday, hopefully our fans will have a road trip and it would be nice to give them three points to bring back home.”

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