BRADFORD City manager Jim Jefferies saluted his players after their battling victory over Leicester yesterday. Goals from Eoin Jess, making his debut after agreeing a loan deal from Aberdeen, and Wayne Jacobs gave the Premiership’s bottom club the three points at Filbert Street.
Former Hearts manager Jefferies was delighted with the way his team had bounced back after three successive defeats. "I’ve always said we can get out of trouble and I have no reason to change my mind. We showed a lot of good organisation today and after losing on Boxing Day [to Sunderland], a bit of character as well. If we continue to show that kind of discipline and work-rate we have a chance."
Jess is on a three-month loan deal, but an undisclosed fee has been agreed with Aberdeen if things work out. "I was pleased with him," said Jefferies. "He’s a different kind of player in that he operates in the area between midfield and attack."
Bradford made a bright start and Jess almost put them ahead after seven minutes. He made space 25 yards out, but his shot went narrowly wide of the post. The midfielder, who previously had a spell in England with Coventry, was keen to make an impression and looked willing to take players on.
Leicester were again forced on the back foot after 17 minutes when Jacobs swung in a cross from the left, but Dean Saunders could only direct his header over the top. Then Jess put Bradford ahead after 26 minutes. He found Robbie Blake on the edge of the area and he turned two defenders before shooting. Andy Impey scrambled the ball off the line, but Jess, who had continued his run into the box, made no mistake from the rebound.
Bradford’s second from Jacobs left Leicester’s Tim Flowers red-faced when his 20-yard free kick trickled through the goalkeeper’s legs. Flowers failed to appear in the second half, and was replaced by Simon Royce. Manager Peter Taylor said: "It was Tim’s decision to come off as his thigh was killing him."
It has been a poor festive programme for Leicester, with Taylor saying: " There is a lack of confidence and a lack of leaders. That’s something we will be working on at training."
Even though Muzzy Izzet pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, in the 38th minute - after Darren Eadie was brought down by Dean Windass - Bradford were good value for their first away league victory this season, with Jefferies opting for an attacking line-up.
Considering their precarious position in the Premiership and the fact that they had not won an away game in the league, Bradford kept their shape well, with Windass putting in a solid shift.
Bradford defender Jacobs was left with a gash above his eye after Robbie Savage appeared to swing an elbow but the referee took no action, and the visitors’ keeper, Gary Walsh, then needed treatment after landing badly.
Former Leicester striker Stan Collymore replaced Blake with five minutes to go and was roundly jeered by the home fans. But this was another disappointing day for Leicester, coming on the back of a 6-1 hammering by Arsenal on Boxing Day.
Leicester: Flowers (Royce 46), Rowett, Elliott, Gilchrist, Impey, Eadie (Guppy 46), Savage, Jones (Benjamin 60), Izzet, Gunnlaugsson, Akinbiyi. Subs not used: Sinclair, Oakes.
Bradford City: Walsh, Atherton (Myers 74), Molenaar, O’Brien, Jacobs, McKinlay, McCall, Jess, Blake (Collymore 85), Saunders (Rankin 87), Windass. Subs not used: Clarke, Beagrie.