Richard O’Donnell came back for the start of pre-season determined to forget his difficult first year with City.

He is certainly doing that after making it three clean sheets out of four in League Two.

The one-handed save to keep out Danny Newton’s second-half header was as good a save as you will see at any level. O’Donnell also produced an alert stop to deny Kelland Watts’ backheel as City stayed firm under pressure.


City did not look big enough or strong enough last season and were often found out by the added physicality of the opposition.

It’s something Gary Bowyer has looked to rectify over the summer and the added inches to the current line-up is already making a difference.

Ben Richards-Everton sums up the extra presence and muscle in the side and was a magnet for the Stevenage crosses that rained in on the Bantams box, especially in the first half.


It was a familiar criticism during the relegation from League One that when things got tough, City were too often found lacking.

But they are demonstrating a backbone in the early weeks of the new season, particularly in the two away games.

City stood up to long-ball barrage at Grimsby, switching off only once to allow James Hanson to net a deflected equaliser.

There were no such lapses in concentration at the Lamex Stadium as Stevenage threw everything at the visitors’ box in the second half.


Having a proper left footer wide on the left gives City a much better shape.

Connor Wood was forced to drop back to defence when Adam Henley went off with a groin injury. But he has grabbed the opportunity on the left of midfield with the quality of the crosses he has put into the box.

Wood’s cross set up the opener for James Vaughan against Oldham and his corner was bang on the money to force the mistake for Tom Soares to head into his own net.


Not knocking the fighting qualities on display at the Lamex Stadium but the game did highlight the need to strengthen in the City engine room.

The visitors struggled to get on the ball in the second half and found themselves up against it in midfield.