ON A potentially embarrassing night for the Bantams in the Leasing.com Trophy, the eye-catching form of Harry Pritchard was a genuine positive.

Pritchard, who was given a more central role, played just over an hour and combined an attacking threat on the ball with some good deliveries from corners.

He claimed the assist for Paudie O’Connor’s equaliser as well as hitting the post himself.


Despite making six changes from the Crewe game, Gary Bowyer persisted with playing three centre-halves and two wing-backs.

The 3-5-2 formation is still a work in motion as City get to grips with a set-up that looks to flood the midfield behind the front two – but can be exposed out wide defensively when the central players get dragged across.

It was not as uncomfortable as Crewe but then the Bantams were up against far less experienced opposition.


Paudie O’Connor’s header early in the second half was City’s first goal of the season by a centre half.

It’s been stressed already that Bowyer expects his big men at the back to chip in and O’Connor showed the way when he buried Harry Pritchard’s corner.

O’Connor put another set-piece header just wide, while Tyler French saw his effort from a corner cleared off the line.


Zeli Ismail’s City career could finally be ready for lift-off after a lively first outing of the season.

The winger had been restricted to just one pre-season sub appearance because of persistent hamstring problems. But he came off the bench and showed that unpredictability and confidence which Bowyer believes will make him a crowd favourite.

Ismail cut in for one shot that was very well saved in his half-hour cameo – and did tuck away the first penalty of the shoot-out.


The integrity of the competition has suffered in League One with Bolton fielding such inexperienced line-ups and getting thumped regularly.

But their youngest team in history played with great pride against the Bantams, roared on by a boisterous crowd of over 9,000.

With new boss Keith Hill making nine signings on deadline day, Bolton can hope to put all the turmoil behind them – even if they do go down.