Bradford City boss Graham Alexander on whether 3-5-2 is here to stay plus thoughts on Ash Taylor

Bradford City manager Graham Alexander. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

Since switching from a 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2 at half-time of Saturday’s League Two game at Notts County, City have scored seven goals and created umpteen opportunities and looked rather more sound at the back.

After clawing two goals back and a semblance of respectability in the second period at Meadow Lane, Graham Alexander’s side set about a Barnsley side with hunger and intent in Tuesday night’s very encouraging 5-1 victory in the EFL Trophy.

The real test comes at home to Accrington Stanley on Saturday as Alexander chases his first league win as City chief at the third time of asking.

As for whether he will stick with 3-5-2, he adopts a pragmatic tone.

He said: “It helped us to achieve in the pressure we can generate on the opponent.

“I do think we have got the players to play a couple of different formations, to be fair.

“Saturday, going in there at half-time, it suited what we needed from that game there and then and I just wanted to have another look at it (on Tuesday).

“There’s little variations. There’s a lot of things. Seventy per cent of the game is the same. You still have to run around, tackle, pass and all that sort of thing.

“But getting players in the right positions which suit their attributes is the most important thing as a manager.

“I thought it suited the individuals on Tuesday, even though I asked Harry (Chapman) and Clarke (Oduor) to do something slightly different. The rest of the team were probably playing in their natural positions and you could see that in their performances.”

Alexander fielded six of the starters who lined up from the off at Notts on Tuesday.

One of them was experienced defenders Ash Taylor, who was brought off at the interval last weekend after having a torrid time, with his reaction being impressive three days on.

Alexander continued: “I take each individual game on its merits and then park it and approach the next game and go ‘right, who is going to help us win this game’ and that’s how it is.

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“As a manager, you are going to take players off at certain times in games.

“I don’t expect them to be happy; it doesn’t make me happy. But it doesn’t mean I’ve just discounted them, that’s it. Everyone has got to play. It’s how they respond to setbacks. Either missing chances or getting taken off.

“It’s how you see them in the next day’s training and in the next game and then you know that player can stand up in adversity and be counted.

“Because football is like that and you have to stand up to adversity all the time. I was delighted with all the players that either came into the team or repeated their form from Saturday.”


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