A STRANGE thing happened during City’s recent friendly against Shelbourne in Dublin.
The Bantams were awarded a penalty. Yes, that’s right, the referee – Miss Rhona Daly – actually pointed to the spot.
Of course, nobody should pay any attention to the results in pre-season.
What happens between makeshift sides building up their fitness levels will have absolutely no bearing on the real campaign when it kicks off on Saturday.
But Miss Daly’s decision to rightly penalise a handball against Shells captain Willo McDonagh at least answered a trivia question that’s been hanging round Valley Parade for near on nine months.
We now know who will be put on the spot now that Nahki Wells has gone.
Alan Sheehan accepted the responsibility and duly dispatched the penalty – City’s first since Wells notched one on the way to his hat-trick in front of the TV cameras against Coventry in November.
No supporter needs reminding that was the only spot-kick they were given all season. City had some decent shouts – Kyel Reid at Oldham, anyone – but never got the verdict again.
So it left the dilemma of who would take the job on from Wells.
Summer recruit Sheehan, it seems, is the solution – and certainly packs plenty of experience from his Notts County days.
The former Magpies skipper stepped up six times last term, converting five of them on the way to a tidy seven-goal tally.
His only blemish was a save from Owain Fon Williams at Tranmere, although Sheehan made amends by scoring later that game with a superb free-kick.
Sheehan is certainly happy to put his name forward for the “real” penalties for City – if they actually get their fair share this time.
He said: “It’s up to the manager whoever hits them but I’d like the chance. There was obviously a lot of pressure last season because of where Notts County were in the league but I was lucky enough to score them.”
After the narrow squeak with Notts, Sheehan is hoping to be pushing for the right end of League One this time around. With no Wolves as runaway favourites, he predicts there will be plenty of contenders for the top six places.
“There’s going to be any of ten teams who can get in the play-offs, possibly even more,” added the Irishman. “You always get a couple of surprises as well.
“It’s really wide open. Whoever gets a good start and stays on top, you never know.
“We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be a difficult year. People don’t get to play at a really nice ground every week so when they come to Bradford they might raise their game.
“But that is part of the challenge of playing for this club. We’ve got a new team and we’re going to try and gel together so that we can hit the ground running.
“It’s a small squad but that means a closer group. It’s important we mingle right and get a good team spirit.
“That’s vital if you want to be successful.”
But the left back is not looking beyond Coventry’s visit to Valley Parade when it all starts again.
“That’s what all this hard work has been for. All these training games are geared towards that.
“It’s going to be two big teams for this division playing against each other and all eyes are on that.”