TONY Stewart, the Rotherham United chairman, has admitted he is “very surprised” Bradford City are languishing in the lower reaches of the League Two table.
The Millers travel to West Yorkshire on Saturday looking for a third straight win against the Bantams, who are just one point and two places above the drop zone after recording just four victories from 17 outings.
Despite leading the club into the semi-final stages of the northern section of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (JPT) and the second round of the FA Cup, manager Phil Parkinson, who succeeded Peter Jackson at the helm in August, has masterminded a mere three wins from 16 matches in charge.
Bradford have raised their game against the big boys in the 2011/12 campaign, knocking out Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Sheffield United in the JPT, all on penalties, and it is for that reason Stewart is refusing to underestimate the threat they will pose at the weekend.
“I am very surprised by Bradford’s form and position in the league,” he told The Star. “I watched their game against Sheffield United and they played really well. I see them as a dangerous and that they have been playing under-par. Their confidence will be up after the last two matches and I’m sure they will try to replicate those performances in the league. If they do that, I’m sure they will start to climb the league but I hope it is after we have played them on Saturday!”
Stewart added: “It is a derby game and we are looking forward to it. We are not frightened of any team in League Two and we know on our day we are capable of beating anyone. If we turn up and give a true presentation of ourselves, then we are confident we can get a good result.”
After a lean spell, Stewart hopes the Millers, who are five matches unbeaten, have turned the corner on the pitch. He feels the results have improved because they have cut out the defensive lapses at the back. Now he is challenging Andy Scott’s promotion aspirants to get to 40 points before the end of the year. They are currently on 24 after their three-point haul against Aldershot, which was their first victory in 10 matches.
“We need to be in the late 30s knocking on the door of 40 we know we are in the right catchment area and we can go into the New Year in good spirits,” said Stewart.
“We have a very fit side, a good manager and the team want what we all want which is success for this football club.”