IT was often felt that going from coaching some of the best Welsh internationals ever, like Ryan Giggs and Gary Speed, UEFA Cup-competing Blackburn and mercurial Stoke talents in Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan Krkic, to being in charge of League Two Bradford City was a drop in quality that Mark Hughes found too difficult to overcome.

Since Hughes' sacking last month, City's players have strongly hinted that they just were not capable of doing what the Welshman was asking of them, or that his tactics did not really suit the fourth tier of English football.

But with the vast majority of Graham Alexander's managerial career taking place in League One and Two, surely that means he has taken to coaching this Bantams squad like a duck to water?

When that was put to him by the T&A, he said: “I don’t know if it does give me an advantage, because it depends on how much information I take on board from my previous jobs or how much I want to discard.

“I’ve had bad experiences in the last 10 years as well, so I don’t want to carry those around with me.

“When I managed Fleetwood, we won promotion from League Two in my first full season as a manager, so where was my experience then?

“I don’t really go for that theory you mentioned, because for me, it’s more about your intelligence to judge a team, judge a player, get your message across and create a mentality of wanting to win.

“I certainly wouldn’t put my experience above anyone else’s.

“You’ve got to realise that nothing you’ve done in the past will win you any points in the future, unless you put actions into place.

“It’s no good trying to live off a CV, a reputation, or your playing career, because otherwise you’ll have no chance.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mark Hughes had a very different background as a manager to Graham Alexander before joining Bradford City.Mark Hughes had a very different background as a manager to Graham Alexander before joining Bradford City. (Image: Tom Pearson.)

“You’ve got to earn the right every single day.

“There are managers who had no playing career at all, or no managerial experience prior, that still do a good job, so I don’t think there’s any one way of being successful.”

City take on high-flying Notts County at Meadow Lane today and their manager, Luke Williams, is a perfect illustration of Alexander’s point.

He only had a short playing career, all in non-league, while his only managerial role before this one at Notts came with Swindon between 2015 and 2017, with the club relegated to League Two in his only full season in charge.

After a five-year spell out of the managerial hotseat, which saw him coaching Bristol City’s Under-23s, as well as becoming assistant at MK Dons and Swansea, he took charge of County last summer.

And having reinvigorated the club, taking them up via the National League play-offs and putting them on course for a second successive promotion, he is hot property.

League One Oxford are rumoured to want him as their new manager, so might that have unsettled him ahead of City’s visit today?

Alexander said: “It’s another distraction for Luke and the club, to add to the Sky cameras that will already be there this weekend.

“But if you think about those, and this managerial speculation, you’re not focusing on your job.

“If you’ve been in the game long enough, you learn to try and park that noise when it comes round to a matchday, so I’m sure that’s what Luke will do.

“For any professional, if there are people wanting you, it means you’re doing a good job, which Luke certainly has done at Notts County.

“You just have to become used to the speculation if that starts happening to you and understand not all of it’s true.

“But Luke will know more about this specific situation than me.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Could Luke Williams soon be on his way out of Notts County?Could Luke Williams soon be on his way out of Notts County? (Image: PA.)

Williams did not get much chance to discuss City in that Oxford-dominated press conference, but he did admit the Bantams would be a hard team to prepare for, given they only appointed Alexander last week, a manager who will put his own stamp on the squad.

The former Salford boss said: “It’s a valid point that Luke makes, with them coming against us, a new-look team with a new manager.

“There’s not the body of work there for them on us to analyse that they might have had earlier in the season, but they’ve still got the same group of players who’ve done well this season, and we’ve still got the same squad.

“I was reasonably pleased with a lot of what (assistant manager) Chris (Lucketti) and I saw last week against Barrow, so we won’t make mad, drastic changes.

“But we are trying to improve, we’re trying to tweak things, so I’d like to think Luke won’t know about those before this weekend.

“But I think every manager has enough on their plate making sure their own team is on the right level to compete in their next game, before starting to worry about their opponents throwing a spanner in the works.”

Will City’s game today being at lunchtime and on Sky Sports throw any sort of spanner in the works? Or will it galvanise the Bantams, having far more eyes on them than usual?

Alexander said: “It can add to the experience and excitement, but then it can for both teams, so it negates any bonus one side would have.

“But every player, when you’re eight, nine, 10 years old, you think about playing in front of big crowds and TV cameras, so it’s great to get that opportunity.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: City have already had a league game on Sky Sports this season, their 1-1 draw at home to Grimsby in early September.City have already had a league game on Sky Sports this season, their 1-1 draw at home to Grimsby in early September. (Image: Thomas Gadd.)

“But from my own experience of playing in the lower leagues, in front of small crowds where games were never televised, to later in my career being in the Premier League, you have to forget about that side of it.

“You have to focus on what you’re there to do. Your responsibility is to do what’s needed for the team and how you can overcome your opponent.

“All that stuff about the cameras, a bigger crowd and having eyes on you is pre-game. Once the whistle goes, that has to be put aside and buried, because otherwise it’s distracting.

“If you’re only going to raise yourself for this game, you’re getting to let yourself and your team down in a lot of other games this season.

“You should be maxing out in training for me and wanting to be the best you can be every single day.”