Cod Army on parade can silence Bantams

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler

Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler wants the Cod Army to pack the away stand at Bradford tonight and fill Highbury for Sunday’s play-off second leg after Bantams striker Billy Clarke dubbed Town’s home fortress “nowhere near” as intimidating as Millwall’s Den.

Bradford were beaten by the Lions in last season’s play-off semi-finals and Clarke, one of six survivors from the squad beaten 4-2 on aggregate, called on the Bantams faithful to create a cauldron of noise tonight similar to the one they faced at Millwall.

Clarke said that having braved the Den he has no concerns about Fleetwood having home advantage in the second leg.

Fleetwood are likely to be well supported at Valley Parade tonight, and after more than 4,700 packed Highbury for Sunday’s goalless draw with Port Vale, Rosler called on them to turn out in droves again to prove Clarke wrong.

He said: “You saw the comments from their players, who have talked a lot about Valley Parade.

“They said our place is not comparable with Millwall’s place, so our supporters should (make them) regret what they said. It makes me proud when the stadium is nearly sold out. We also wish that we fill our away stand (tonight) and give the players vocal support l.”

Despite an anticipated 20,000-plus crowd at Valley Parade, Rosler says floodlit games suit his side, who beat the Bantams under lights in February.

And with Bantams boss Stuart McCall making nine changes for their draw with Rochdale last weekend, Rosler is expecting a high-tempo start from the hosts.

He said: “I think it is good we play in the evening. Adrenaline will automatically be there. We normally play well in evening games. We are physically very well equipped when we play in the evening.

“I think they saved nine players in the last game. They will try to win the tie in their home game and to put pressure on us, but we are prepared to cope with that.”

Both this season’s league meetings ended 2-1 to the home side and Rosler said at the time that Bradford were the best team to visit Highbury.

He has since revised his opinion and said: “That was an emotional game. When I reflected on the game, they were very good in the first half. In the second half we slowly took over and won the game.

“They put pressure on us, created one chance and scored in the first half. In the second half we got on top and deserved to win the game.

“They won 2-1 in their home game and again it was very tight. “We gave away an absolutely silly penalty at a period when we were giving a lot of penalties away.

“That was one and it cost us the game.

“I think tonight’s game will be a very tight affair. There is not much between the two teams.

“It is about how both teams deal with the occasion. I think the game will be decided in the head. A lot of young players have gained a lot of experience since then (the teams’ last meeting) and that makes you better. Of course we are better.

“Bradford have more experience in play-offs. They are used to playing in front of a big crowd and we are not. We need to cope with the day.”