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Guy Branston labels Bradford City side ‘best I have seen’
The first text to pop up on Guy Branston’s phone after the City game came from a familiar source.
“It was Dave Baldwin saying ‘well done Brano’,” said the uncompromising centre half. “But that’s what I expect from a top man and a top club.”
Branston has a lot of time for City’s director of operations for his help in smoothing his departure from Valley Parade during the summer.
Despite his own travails, he still harbours a lot of affection for the club where it did not work out.
And having seen them at close quarters twice in recent weeks, Branston has no doubts that the Bantams are heading for the heights.
He said: “They are the best side I’ve seen. They bossed it at Aldershot without getting out of second gear and showed a great burning desire on Saturday that wasn’t there when I was at the club.
“That’s testament to the manager. Being on the outside looking in now, you’ve got to give him credit for doing a tremendous job in recruiting and the work on the training ground.”
Branston noticed the different attitude with the way City kept picking themselves up against Bristol Rovers. Having scored the opener himself, his new loan side led three times but the visitors refused to give up.
He said: “Twelve months ago we would roll over to the likes of Dagenham and Barnet. You’d look around the team and there’d only be me and Bully (Lee Bullock) shouting.
“You see the change in mentality now. I thought that when Dava (Andrew Davies) signed in the summer and you can tell how it’s different by the noise.
“Instead of two or three shouting and screaming, they’ve got five or six. You’ve got people growling at each other and encouraging all the time and that’s what you need to win the league.
“Gary Jones is a legend in my eyes and he and Nathan Doyle have done so much in midfield (to change the thinking). But you’ve got good players all over the pitch.
“I was impressed with Rory McArdle and really like James Meredith since they got him from York. Will Atkinson was a bit too timid last year but he’s come on leaps and bounds.
“And you’ve got a front two who will always score goals. I thought I did well in my own game but they are so hard to defend against.
“Nahki Wells is flying in front of goal. He’s grown so much as a player since I left.
“And big James (Hanson) was trying everything to unsettle us and getting in some dangerous positions. He’s a good footballer.
“Give him and Nahki a chance and they will score. They are as good a front two as anyone.
“Saturday was just how football should be – passionate, vibrant and quick. If I’m brutally honest, it was probably not a game I wanted to play in because I wasn’t fit enough, having not been involved for a while.
“Bradford were the hardest side to play against when you’ve only been training for 20 minutes with your new team-mates.
“Of course you should win when you’re ahead three times but you’ve got to be a football realist. We’re near the bottom of the league and would have gladly taken a point before the game against such a top club.”