BREAKING NEWS: Bradford caretaker Manager Kevin McDonald sent a serious message to board addressing the Bantams’ biggest League Two problem – whether given the job or not we will find ourselves with same problem

Whether Bradford City’s next permanent manager is young or old, forward-thinking or traditional, they will face a familiar challenge.

If that specific sticky issue is handled, the Bantams’ chances of leaving the fourth division of English football, which they are keen to leave behind, would improve dramatically.

Everyone agrees that the City’s crowd statistics during Valley Parade are quite impressive. In comparison, their essential statistics in terms of League Two form at home are most emphatically not.

In the last two seasons, their home numbers have been outperformed by their away figures. In 2022-23, their home record was tenth best in League Two, while their away record was sixth.
In the previous season, 2021-22, 18 clubs had better statistics in front of their own fans than City. A devastating figure, but in 2020-21 it was only the 14th ‘best’.

Kevin McDonald keeping feet on ground despite flying start in Bradford  hotseat - Ireland Live

Caretaker-manager Kevin McDonald may be a rookie in terms of dugout experience, but he offers valuable insight into both home form and the pressures of representing a genuine ‘big club’ in the lower leagues.

Earlier in his career, the Scot played in the third tier for Sheffield United and Wolves.He is now sampling it as a manager, and his ideas are logical.
Back-to-back league victories under him have lifted spirits on the playing side. The division’s ‘Hollywood’ side in Wrexham are up next this weekend, and the strain will undoubtedly be shared with the determined visitors.
Given the level at which City operates, it is something that comes with the territory. The basic line is that McDonald joined the club for that reason, and he will keep reminding everyone of it.

“I’ve seen it at clubs and with certain people, it (pressure) can eat you up if you get caught up in it and don’t perform,” McDonald said.

“Especially in the home games, if you’re losing or getting draws when you’re expected to win.”You must remember that this is why people play football. Every week, you want to play in front of 17,000 people.

“That’s why we’re here, and it’s a big reason I joined.”

“We should be dominating and winning, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.”

“Wolves were a big part of it.” It was anarchy when we lost four games in a row (one).

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“But we then went on a long winning run, so everything was fine.”

Successive League Two victories under McDonald have earned City valuable time in their search for Mark Hughes’ full-time replacement.

Three points against Wrexham, who were considered as promotion favourites in the summer, would convert the speculation about McDonald’s future in charge into a potential outcry.

In that regard, Saturday will be his litmus test, as expectations have been increased following three-point hauls against AFC Wimbledon and Swindon, both of whom had previously impressed in 2023-24.

McDonald, admirably, is not planning too far ahead. On a daily basis, he is too preoccupied with having fun.

Whatever happens, he knows he’ll be better for the experience and isn’t placing too much pressure on himself.

“The main thing for me is that I’m enjoying it,” the 34-year-old added. I wasn’t sure how I’d react to it.

“But it’s still an odd situation.” I’m wearing a green training top one minute and a blue one the next – but it’s all in good fun.

Bradford sack manager Mark Hughes with the Bantams falling to 18th place in  League Two having won just three matches under the former Southampton boss  this season | Daily Mail Online

“I always want to create a relaxed and enjoyable environment for people to be in.”

“We work hard when it’s necessary, but I’ve always been a player who enjoys a good laugh and a good joke.”

“That’s the way it will always be as long as I’m in charge here.”

McDonald may enjoy the banter, but when it comes to coaching and management, he is dead serious about it being the next step in his football career – and a natural development.

He understands what he is getting himself into. It’s all-consuming and never-ending.

But it’s also something he’s been preparing for a long time, having improved his understanding under various different managers. He’s kept a written record of everything he’s learned.

“I did take a lot of notes over the course of these last few years,” McDonald, who had coaching experience during his time at Fulham, continued.

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“I didn’t expect to use them at this particular time, but I am, and it has served me well thus far.” There will be more in the future.

“Gary Caldwell was a fantastic coach who I learned a lot from during my time at Exeter.”

“But I’ve taken little bits here and there over the last five years.”

“I’ve worked with a variety of managers. (Claudio) Ranieri was a defensive coach, and I learned a lot from him.

“I’ve also had fully-attacking coaches so I kind of need to be somewhere in between that in terms of a playing style.”

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