As Bradford City prepare for their second consecutive season in Sky Bet League Two, Stuart McCall has gotten his recruitment process well underway.
Following the West Yorkshire side’s crestfallen 9th table finish last season, club legend McCall will be vying to set the record straight and finally achieve promotion with his beloved club as he prepares for his first full season at City since departing the club in 2018 in a controversial manner surrounding then-club owner Edin Rahic. McCall can now finally begin building a dedicated squad which Bradford fans alike can be proud of, get behind, and most importantly, fight for the shirt, something which many have accused the team of lacking in recent years.
McCall has confirmed Bradford’s fifth summer signing, as Elliot Watt joins a roster of Levi Sutton, Billy Clarke, Dylan Mottley-Henry and the highly rated Callum Cooke ahead of the 2020/21 season, but just how significant could Watt be to a lacklustre midfield right now?
Whilst the Bantams faithful know what to expect from fellow central midfielder Cooke due to his loan spell last season, many are unaware of the talents and expertise Watt possesses, the kind of player he is and how he could be the midfield general City have lacked since Joshua Cullen’s loan spell ended in 2018.
Watt has had previous spells at youth level with Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End before eventually settling down at Wolverhampton Wanderers and signing his first professional contract in November 2017. His singular ever appearance for Wolves came in a 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in an EFL Cup tie, but he is no stranger to senior football, having made 12 appearances on loan at Carlisle United last season and impressing, despite it just being a short tenure at the Cumbrians.
At 5″9, Watt usually operates as a deep-lying playmaker which is good news as fans are wanting to see Cooke play in his more accomplished advanced role, but he is known for being agile, composed and a good decision-maker which is why he was able to adapt to League Two football with Carlisle so instinctively. Watt has also built up a reputation of being a wizard at a set-piece, being the specialist for when it comes to free-kicks and corners. This is again a positive for Bradford supporters as they have lacked a real constant threat at free-kicks, especially now Shay McCartan has left the club after the wonders he performed at Swindon Town away last campaign. Under the tutelage of McCall, Watt could prosper into a huge coup for the Bantams alongside Cooke, and even a possible future club captain, as Wolves journalist Tim Spiers described the midfielder as a “tidy player and captain material- got the attributes to have a very good career.”
Bantams boss McCall has thoroughly scouted promising Watt himself, having watched the Scotland Under-21 international in a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool Under-23’s a few months ago. This game saw Watt challenge the likes of Herbie Kane and Rhian Brewster, who both play at Championship level, yet he got stuck in and showed he was up for the fight, rarely shying from a 50/50 and showing his technical ability when controlling the midfield from a slightly deeper role, one which McCall envisions Watt doing in West Yorkshire.
Despite the fact he is just 20 years old, Bradford fans should be excited about the midfield general McCall has attracted to the club, especially as the Scotsman acquired his services on a undisclosed fee which is a huge risk due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic for a League Two club, so the manager must be confident in Watt’s abilities to perform and how he can lead the club forward from here. Especially as Watt has shown a desire to be at Valley Parade despite interest from elsewhere, saying: “From the minute I heard Bradford City was interested, it was straight ahead. I wanted to get the deal done. The size of the club speaks for itself and we should not really be in the division we are.”
featured image credit Yorkshire Post