FOOTBALL: Slowing Town down

This Is Wiltshire: Melksham’s Will Stead (yellow) loses out to a cheeky back-heel from Bradford’s Steve Hulbert during Monday’s Wiltshire Senior Cup quarter-final Melksham’s Will Stead (yellow) loses out to a cheeky back-heel from Bradford’s Steve Hulbert during Monday’s Wiltshire Senior Cup quarter-final

BRADFORD Town manager Paul Shanley fears a fixture pile-up could derail his side’s challenge for promotion from the Toolstation League First Division.

Bradford have blazed from mid-table mediocrity to a ferocious promotion challenge after winning nine of their last 10 league games, hitting 37 goals and conceding just nine along the way.

Shanley’s men currently sit fourth in the table and have been deadly in front of goal this term, finding the net 14 more times than anyone else (74).

But a testing fixture schedule of four games in seven days is on the horizon and Shanley, whose side are averaging virtually three goals a game, is expecting his squad to be pushed to their limits.

“It’s going to be really difficult because they’re all going to be tough games – you might look at some of them on paper as ones you’d usually win but not when they’re all so close together,” said Shanley.

“We’ve got a good squad of 20-odd players and we’re going to have to use them all to get through it but they’re a good group and they’ve been playing well. Being a manager is just like being a player and when you’re winning games, you enjoy it that much more.

“Sometimes it feels like you just pick the team and the rest is easy. But we’ve got to keep concentrating.

“All we want to do is carry on doing as well as we can and hopefully finish in a good position at the end of the season.”

Bradford, who also moved into the semi-finals of the Wiltshire Senior Cup with an extra time win at Melksham on Monday, face a league derby at Warminster Town tomorrow before travelling to bottom-of-the-table Shrewton United on Tuesday.

Then on Thursday, fellow promotion-chasers Cribbs Friends Life visit the Bradford on Avon Sports and Social Club before Shanley’s side host Wellington on Saturday, March 2.

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