Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Rory McArdle happy to play more games in search for winning Bradford City formula
There’s no such thing as too much football for Rory McArdle.
City’s mood remains high after their Capital One Cup triumph at Notts County but the games that “really” matter start with Gillingham on Saturday.
Ending the club’s consignment in the basement division at the sixth time of asking is the be all and end all for everyone. But nobody is under any illusions about the struggle ahead, particularly in a concertinaed season that is two weeks shorter than the norm.
That obviously means more midweek games on the schedule. Already there are eight on the fixture list, starting with the home opener against Fleetwood next week – and that does not include cup ties and postponements.
But centre half McArdle reckons it’s a case of more the merrier, especially if City’s rebuilt ranks can live up to the weight of expectation.
The summer’s second recruit admitted the biggest drawback of his two-year stint at Aberdeen was the spaced-out nature of the Scottish fixtures.
The more frenetic diary south of the border allows teams to quickly build momentum, as he enjoyed during a successful spell alongside the likes of Gary Jones and Will Atkinson at Rochdale.
“One of the reasons I wanted to get back to England was the chance to play more games,” said McArdle.
“There’s a lot of Saturday to Saturday in Scotland, which some people might prefer, but I’d rather have that situation where games come up thick and fast.
“If you’re playing Saturday then Tuesday, the opportunity is there to really make a move. Get a couple of wins under your belt and, before you know it, all of a sudden you can have a hell of a lot of points on the board.
“That’s what happened at Rochdale. With all the midweek games, we just got on this run.
“It got to a stage where we went into games knowing we were going to win. No matter how we did it, we’d come out with the three points.
“You know it’s not going to be pretty at times playing that often. It will get tough and physical and a bit scrappy.
“But pick up six or nine points in a week and people will accept that. You find yourselves in and around the play-offs and pushing for the top and nobody is complaining.”
The Rochdale connection in the City dressing room is strong. Throw in former boss Steve Parkin and right back Stephen Darby and it seems the majority have a spell at Spotland on their record.
McArdle recalls his time the other side of the Pennines fondly and believes that success they enjoyed in recent years can rub off on his new club.
He said: “The time we spent together went very well. We were in the play-off final, the semi-finals and obviously then got promoted in my last season.
“No disrespect to Rochdale but at the time nobody fancied us to go up. The budget was nothing compared to other clubs in and around us.
“But we had a really good team spirit to do what we did. Everyone was tight together and we took that on the pitch.
“We knew what was required to get out of this league and hopefully we can pass that on now at Bradford.
“There’s been a big change-round in players and a new nucleus to the squad. But the players who have come in have all shown they can play at the level where we need to be.
“There’s a lot of experience but also a good blend with the young lads. I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t meet those expectations.”
McArdle and Luke Oliver have formed a solid partnership at the heart of the City defence and played their part in the two-hour clean sheet at Meadow Lane. With Andrew Davies knocking on the door, competition will be strong.
McArdle accepts that Davies is the big cheese at centre half – he was, after all, a powerful magnet in pulling the Northern Ireland international towards Valley Parade when Shrewsbury and Southend were vying for his services.
He said: “Andrew Davies had come in just before me and he was a massive catch. Look at the career he’s had.
“But that showed the mission of the club for me. If a player of his calibre was willing to be part of it, then that was good enough for me.
“You see players like Dava signing here and you know it’s going to be a really good season.”