McLaren has lucky escape

McLaren has lucky escape

Paul McLaren was carried off in last night’s win at Dundee but insists it is nothing serious

Paul McLaren was carried off in last night’s win at Dundee but insists it is nothing serious

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

Dundee 0, City 1

Paul McLaren dispelled fears of a serious injury after being stretchered off against Dundee.

The sight of the City play-maker being carried from the pitch cast a shadow over a good night’s work but afterwards he was able to walk from the ground without any problems.

“It hurt when I did it but I didn’t think it was that bad,” said McLaren, who suffered a badly bruised right ankle.

“Then I started feeling a bit wobbly and when they put me on the stretcher I feared the worst. But there’s nothing to be worried about. It’s just a few stud marks on my leg and I’ll be fine.”

Stuart McCall will have been pleased to see his side pass their first proper pre-season examination – and delighted his key signing escaped serious injury with the season kicking off in just over a fortnight.

Dundee and City have quite a bit in common. Both have known much better times in recent memory; both went through the horrors of administration.

Dundee, like City, are managed by a tigerish midfielder. Alex Rae was not known as a shrinking violet in his playing days with Millwall, Wolves and Sunderland.

Rae is also in his first hot-seat job although he has a year’s advantage on McCall, having taken up the helm in May 2006.

His aim, like McCall’s, is promotion this time round and Dundee are also heavily favoured by the bookies.

So the Dens Park side, who finished second in Scottish Division One last term, were the ideal opposition last night as City’s build-up got serious after three non-league outings.

McCall’s selection reflected the quality of the hosts, with Graeme Lee and Chris Brandon appearing for the first time in claret and amber.

And surprisingly there was also an outing for Joe Colbeck, who had only made the trip at the 11th hour because of his sore groin.

Brandon lined up on the left of a four-man midfield, with Kyle Nix partnering McLaren in the middle. Omar Daley was pushed up front.

City needed only four minutes to get their noses in front from the game’s opening corner.

McLaren floated it invitingly towards the penalty spot, where Barry Conlon rose above the pack to head home his second goal in just over a half of pre-season action.

Strikers are judged on scoring and, for all his hard work for the team, fingers have been pointed at Conlon for not getting enough goals. Hopefully his start will do the big man a world of good.

The early boost certainly lifted City, who were dominating from the early corners. Graeme Lee, twice, and Conlon again both beat their markers to win the set-pieces.

Conlon was leading the line well and the visitors looked strong in all areas. Rae’s audible anxiety on the touchline illustrated their control on proceedings.

Dundee’s cause was not helped by the loss of Senegalese midfielder Makhtar N’Diaye after 29 minutes with a heavy knock.

Unlike at Guiseley, City keeper Rhys Evans had barely touched the ball and Dundee’s first shot from Colin McMenamin finished nearer the corner flag than the goal.

Former Celtic keeper Rab Douglas finally claimed a City corner to spark a more promising break but the final pass was poor and Evans gathered easily.

But as half-time approached, City’s night took a downturn when McLaren was left in a heap after being caught in a challenge with right back David Cowan. McCall came running on to see how badly he was hurt and the midfielder had to be taken off on a stretcher.

It was a worrying sight for the 66 travelling fans in the 1,239 crowd as the new signing was carried past them towards the dressing room. But it did not disrupt City’s rhythm as Daley cut inside to force a flying save from Douglas.

The Jamaican’s pace was proving a real headache for the Dundee defence and Jim Lauchlan, left in Daley’s slipstream just before the break, responded by wrestling him to the ground.

Much to Daley’s annoyance, lenient referee Colin Brown took no action against his assailant. In a league game the centre half would have seen red for such a blatant professional foul.

Willy Topp replaced Brandon for the second half, going wide on the right with Colbeck switching wings.

Dundee were trying to pick it up and Evans unconvincingly sliced the ball into touch under pressure from Brian Deasley.

Conlon’s good game continued as he poked a ball into the danger zone for McLaren’s replacement Lee Bullock but Douglas was across in the nick of time.

Deasley then got in behind the City defence but fell down too easily as Matt Clarke went to close him down. The loose ball broke to Colin Cameron but the former MK Dons schemer, once a City transfer target for Jim Jefferies, was blocked by the quick-thinking Paul Arnison.

McCall rang the changes on the hour with five substitutions – only Clarke remained from the starting back four and goalkeeper. He ended up the only player in the side to stay on for the full 90 minutes.

Simon Ainge, who came in at right back, was immediately beaten by winger Mark Gilhaney, who floated a dangerous ball to the far post where McMenamin failed to get a decisive touch to trouble Evans.

As the substitution merry-go-round continued, David Wetherall even popped up in a striker’s role. He had a chance to shoot from the edge of the box but dallied on the ball too long.

City: Evans (McLaughlin 60), Arnison (Ainge 60), Heckingbottom (L O’Brien 60), McLaren (Bullock 39), Lee (Bower 60), Clarke, Colbeck (Sharry 60), Daley (Jacobs 70), Conlon (Thorne 70), Nix (Wetherall 76), Brandon (Topp 46).

Dundee: Douglas, Cowan (D O’Brien 70), Malone (Forsyth 70), Cameron, MacKenzie, Laughlan, Paton, N’Diaye (McHale 29), McMenamin (Mearns 82), Deasley, Gilhaney.

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:10pm Wed 23 Jul 08

EMB Bantam says...

Great win, and glad about McLaren.
Great win, and glad about McLaren. EMB Bantam
  • Score: 0

12:14am Thu 24 Jul 08

Waynus says...

Nice to learn McLaren is not too badly injured, though he may not play again until 9 August.

From the report, it sounds like McLaren kept putting set-pieces in exactly the right place and should create a few goals next season for our central defenders, Bullock, Thorne & Conlon.

On another thread, a few people have said we don't need another\striker as we now have a fully fit Topp. However, Topp is not a goal scorer, never has been and probably never will. He is a creator and will be a great partner for our strikers. He will not get us goals though. Therefore, we do still need another striker in our squad.

Personally, I would like to see evans offered the number one shirt. I would also like to see us sign a right-back as cover for Arnison, a left-winger as cover for Daley and a striker. If we can get quality in those positions, I can see us going up AS CHAMPIONS!
Nice to learn McLaren is not too badly injured, though he may not play again until 9 August. From the report, it sounds like McLaren kept putting set-pieces in exactly the right place and should create a few goals next season for our central defenders, Bullock, Thorne & Conlon. On another thread, a few people have said we don't need another\striker as we now have a fully fit Topp. However, Topp is not a goal scorer, never has been and probably never will. He is a creator and will be a great partner for our strikers. He will not get us goals though. Therefore, we do still need another striker in our squad. Personally, I would like to see evans offered the number one shirt. I would also like to see us sign a right-back as cover for Arnison, a left-winger as cover for Daley and a striker. If we can get quality in those positions, I can see us going up AS CHAMPIONS! Waynus
  • Score: 0

11:31am Thu 24 Jul 08

tyker says...

yes I think Evans will sign---some good vibrations around.

I think we can get by without another striker so long as THORNE AND CONLON can stay fit and are provided with the right ammunition by way of good qulaity crosses from decent forward wing play:let us hope that DALEY AND COLBECK have been told to get their heads up instead of running like headless chickens and have been taught to deliver meaningful crosses.

The jig saw is fitting together and I think we are about there. Maybe if we could leave the squad as is,assuming Evans is signed, we can bolster it with some up and coming youngsters on loan.

Wetherall as a 15 minute bludgeoning centre forward from the subs bench--------- mmmmm I have seen worse decisions made over the years at City!!!
yes I think Evans will sign---some good vibrations around. I think we can get by without another striker so long as THORNE AND CONLON can stay fit and are provided with the right ammunition by way of good qulaity crosses from decent forward wing play:let us hope that DALEY AND COLBECK have been told to get their heads up instead of running like headless chickens and have been taught to deliver meaningful crosses. The jig saw is fitting together and I think we are about there. Maybe if we could leave the squad as is,assuming Evans is signed, we can bolster it with some up and coming youngsters on loan. Wetherall as a 15 minute bludgeoning centre forward from the subs bench--------- mmmmm I have seen worse decisions made over the years at City!!! tyker
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Thu 24 Jul 08

fatbloke says...

1st game and 1st assist McLaren, hopefully that is 1st of many and glad to hear the injury is not as bad as first thought.

As the new striker topic, for me McCall will only bring someone who feels 100% he can comit his transfer funds on, if he cant why not go for a loan? However if it looks like Topp playing with Thorne, we have then have Conlon and also players like Brandon and Daley who can play of 1 striker I really do not see a panick and money could be saved to replace any player he is rellying on if they get injured.

I think we have enough to start the season as we will see more goals and more creativity from the midfield this year.
1st game and 1st assist McLaren, hopefully that is 1st of many and glad to hear the injury is not as bad as first thought. As the new striker topic, for me McCall will only bring someone who feels 100% he can comit his transfer funds on, if he cant why not go for a loan? However if it looks like Topp playing with Thorne, we have then have Conlon and also players like Brandon and Daley who can play of 1 striker I really do not see a panick and money could be saved to replace any player he is rellying on if they get injured. I think we have enough to start the season as we will see more goals and more creativity from the midfield this year. fatbloke
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Thu 24 Jul 08

EMB Bantam says...

Lloyd Owusu is (was?) available on a free from Yeovil. 6ft 3, strong & pacey. Strike rate not fantastic but better than Conlon, and might be wrong side of 30 for some supporters, but could still do a job in this league.

The FA have a website full of available players - either free transfers of 'open to offers' - there's plenty to go at.
Lloyd Owusu is (was?) available on a free from Yeovil. 6ft 3, strong & pacey. Strike rate not fantastic but better than Conlon, and might be wrong side of 30 for some supporters, but could still do a job in this league. The FA have a website full of available players - either free transfers of 'open to offers' - there's plenty to go at. EMB Bantam
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Thu 24 Jul 08

fatbloke says...

Check this out..

http://www.thisisglo
ucestershire.co.uk/f
ootball/2-14pm-UPDAT
E-Boulding-snubs-Rob
ins/article-235561-d
etail/article.html

According to this Boulding's father rang Cheltenham last night and told them Michael is signing for City??
Check this out.. http://www.thisisglo ucestershire.co.uk/f ootball/2-14pm-UPDAT E-Boulding-snubs-Rob ins/article-235561-d etail/article.html According to this Boulding's father rang Cheltenham last night and told them Michael is signing for City?? fatbloke
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Thu 24 Jul 08

lost in space says...

THIS IS VERY INTERESTING...
BREAKING NEWS: bradford City make boulding signing...


24 July 2008

BRADFORD CITY have won the race to sign Michael Boulding after the striker had a change of heart over a move to Cheltenham Town.
Bantams manager Stuart McCall made the 32-year-old, who netted 25 goals for Mansfield Town last term, his number one target for the summer but looked to have missed out after the striker earlier this week agreed personal terms with the Gloucestershire club.

However, sources in Cheltenham claim Boulding contacted manager Keith Downing last night to indicate he now wanted to join Bradford and the Yorkshire Post understands he will now sign a two-year deal at Valley Parade.

The striker, who injured his ankle while training with City earlier this summer, will be joined in West Yorkshire by younger brother Rory.

Downing said: "He had a scan on his ankle on Tuesday after he turned it in training at Bradford. He informed us that if the scan was all clear that he would sign for us.

"However, we had a phone call at 7.20 last night from his father to say that he was signing for Bradford City. It was stressed that it was a personal decision and nothing to do with money."
THIS IS VERY INTERESTING... BREAKING NEWS: bradford City make boulding signing... 24 July 2008 BRADFORD CITY have won the race to sign Michael Boulding after the striker had a change of heart over a move to Cheltenham Town. Bantams manager Stuart McCall made the 32-year-old, who netted 25 goals for Mansfield Town last term, his number one target for the summer but looked to have missed out after the striker earlier this week agreed personal terms with the Gloucestershire club. However, sources in Cheltenham claim Boulding contacted manager Keith Downing last night to indicate he now wanted to join Bradford and the Yorkshire Post understands he will now sign a two-year deal at Valley Parade. The striker, who injured his ankle while training with City earlier this summer, will be joined in West Yorkshire by younger brother Rory. Downing said: "He had a scan on his ankle on Tuesday after he turned it in training at Bradford. He informed us that if the scan was all clear that he would sign for us. "However, we had a phone call at 7.20 last night from his father to say that he was signing for Bradford City. It was stressed that it was a personal decision and nothing to do with money." lost in space
  • Score: 0
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree