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Stuart McCall returns to The Valley with disenchanted memories

By Tom Sargent

Bradford City’s last visit to The Valley will not provide manager Stuart McCall with the fondest of memories.
The former Scotland international was sent off for the first time in his career, as Bradford succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic in the Premier League.

“It was the only sending-off in my entire career,” recalled the Bradford manager to The Yorkshire Evening Post. “What made things worse was it happened in the 93rd minute.

“I deserved that one, but the second booking was very harsh. I just went in to get the ball and, although I did catch their lad, it was nothing like a booking.”

McCall was then asked to step in as caretaker manager hours later, after manager Chris Hutchings was sacked after just 12 games in charge. City were eventually relegated with a mere 26 points.

McCall was released by the club in May 2002 and after a three-year spell with Sheffield United, he hung up his boots a few weeks before his 41st birthday.

McCall, now in his second stint as fulltime manager of Bradford, will be looking for a better result than the last time he visited The Valley.
Bradford have lost only one of their last 10 league games and are fourth in the league with 62 points, just two off the automatic promotion places.
Bradford will be without winger Alex Gilliead and midfielder Nicky Law, but defender Stephen Darby is expected to feature.

Charlton on the other hand are in a precarious situation as they have only won one of their last ten games and sit just five points above the drop zone.

The home side will also be without a number of key players. Defenders Chris Solly and Jordan Botaka remain doubtful whilst Jason Pearce is also out. Striker Josh Magennis is also absent with a hamstring problem.

The ongoing battle between the fans and the club owners has overshadowed much of the season, after numerous protests from supporters.

Matters on the pitch haven’t been much better, with manager Karl Robinson giving an honest assessment after their defeat to Shrewsbury in February:

What do you think?