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Bradford City v Colchester United – Valley Parade – Sky Bet League Two – Saturday 3pm – Preview
Ray Crawford believes Colchester United have the right credentials to mount a serious Sky Bet League Two promotion push, despite the club losing several of their key players due to the financial restraints caused by the lockdown.
Frank Nouble, Luke Prosser, Ryan Jackson and Brandon Comley headed out of the JobServe Community Stadium following last seasons unsuccessful play-off campaign. However, with fresh ideas at the helm after the appointment of management duo, Steve Ball and Hayden Mullis, Crawford thinks the U’s can still challenge towards the top of what is otherwise a ruthless division.
Speaking to Yellow Sport ahead of Saturday’s League Two opener at much-fancied Bradford City, the former frontman said: “We still have some very good footballers at the club – I don’t think Colchester will be too far off the top three places.
“Hayden Mullins appointment was an eye-opener for me. He has worked in the Premier League until recently. That type of experience will be crucial. He might also have a good idea of what to look at in the loan market, having watched a lot of under 23 matches while coaching at Watford.
“Tommy Smith will offer leadership, something I think we needed with Luke (Prosser) leaving. If we can find our feet early, get the first win on the board and take the pressure off a little, then it could be the start of a decent campaign.”
Ahead of the trip to Valley Parade, Crawford added: “I will be tough – Bradford will be expected to challenge for promotion this season. They will want to make their home ground something of a fortress.
“But will no crowd, that could prove to be a great leveller? Bradford usually has a huge backing at home. The Colchester boys must make the most of not facing that.
“I don’t think either side are capable of playing cautiously. They both like to play on the front foot as much as possible. Colchester must ensure they don’t start sluggishly, offering the home side a chance to dominate from the start.
“I definitely think Colchester are capable of taking something from the game. Winning at Bradford would certainly send out a warning that the U’s are capable of going the distance this time around.”
Ray Crawford’s prediction: Bradford City 1-1 Colchester United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Bradford City 2-2 Colchester United