Bradford and Oldham may exit English League One in opposite directions at the end of this season, with the Bantams on track for promotion and the Latics heading for the drop.
Phil Parkinson, the manager who made history when he led then fourth-tier Bradford to the English Capital One Cup final in 2013, quit the Bantams to join Bolton during the summer but former City star Stuart McCall has steered the Northern Commercials Stadium team to 10 points and third place on the ladder after four English League One rounds.
Bradford is under new ownership following the takeover of German investors Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp recently and they have backed McCall in the transfer market, with the Bantams picking up several players, including Romain Vincelot, who stuck out for Coventry last term.
Coventry became Bradford’s third consecutive English League One victim when the Sky Blues lost 1-3 to the Bantams at the Northern Commercials Stadium. Previously Bradford had won by one goal at both Milton Keynes and Peterborough and its 0-0 home draw versus Port Vale on the opening day of the English League One season does not read as badly now as it did then because the Valiants boast a 2-1-1 divisional record.
One would have not hired McCall because his coaching numbers are nothing out of the ordinary and he did disappointed when managing Bradford for the best part of three seasons in the late 2000s and early 2010s. But McCall inherited a decent Bradford side that Parkinson built, the Bantams are one of English League One’s best supported teams and their new owners have money to spend. Bradford is set to contend.
Oldham is the universal English League One relegation favourite and justifiably so. Oldham has falled on hard times, a far cry from the Joe Royle era in which the Latics competed in the English Premier League and were famous for lengthy cup runs. The English League One is four rounds old and no Oldham player has scored a goal yet – the Latics won 1-0 at Bury last weekend but the Shakers put the ball into their own net 10 minutes into the Greater Manchester derby.
Inspect the English League One statistics and it is little wonder why Oldham is struggling to hit the back of the net. Only Sheffield United has mustered fewer shots in the first four English League One rounds than Oldham, with the Latics having had a meagre 33 efforts of which just 10 have been on target. In comparison, Bradford has had 51 attempts in its four English League One games, including 17 on target.
The purpose of this weekly column is to identify bets at good odds that have an excellent chance of paying dividends. Paddy Power is offering a price of +240 that Bradford beats Oldham by more than one goal at the Northern Commercials Stadium on Saturday and those odds make great appeal.
Bradford posted an English League One double over Oldham last term. Bradford defeated Oldham 2-1 on the road in September and the Bantams beat the Latics 1-0 at home in January. A peculiarity of both English League One matches was that Oldham had a player sent off in both games but one would argue that the red cards did not impact the results.
Bradford -1 to beat Oldham
Saturday 27th August, 15:00 GMT