David Ferguson previews Hartlepool United's home clash with Bradford City and the message from Paul Hartley for ex-Sunderland and Blackpool man

David Ferguson says the ‘shackles are off’ for Hartlepool United as they prepare to welcome Bradford City this weekend.
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Pools are looking to build on their unbeaten start at the Suit Direct Stadium after back-to-back goalless draws against AFC Wimbledon and Tranmere Rovers with Paul Hartley’s side still without a win this season.

And they welcome a Bantams side who have taken four points from their first four league games following the midweek defeat at Colchester United.

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The Bantams were hotly tipped by many in pre-season to be one of the contenders in League Two this year and will present a sizeable task for Hartley’s side.

David Ferguson previews Hartlepool United's League Two fixture with Bradford City. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)David Ferguson previews Hartlepool United's League Two fixture with Bradford City. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)
David Ferguson previews Hartlepool United's League Two fixture with Bradford City. (Credit: John Cripps | MI News)

Pools have been struggling in front of goal so far this season, but defender Ferguson admits Hartley has challenged him to help out in attack having almost got on the scoresheet in recent games against Northampton Town and Tranmere.

“The gaffer has said he wants the shackles off, he's said that for the last few games to me,” said Ferguson.

“I’ve been getting into some good areas the last few games and I’m even critical of myself. There was a good move in the first half on Tuesday which I thought I should have done better with, and then there was a few [last] Saturday where I should have done better as well.

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“We are happy with the clean sheets, that’s two in four we’ve had,” the defender added.

“But you want to make your home a fortress really. I would say looking back at the two home games it’s a shame to not get any [wins] from both of them.

“We’ve had some chances, but as a team we just need to be a bit more ruthless.”

Ferguson remains a key player for Pools after agreeing a new two-year deal with the club at the end of last season.

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But the former Sunderland man is one of few who remain in the squad from last season with several players having moved on in the summer.

And one of those players was defender Timi Odusina, who joined Saturday’s opponents Bradford after failing to reach terms on a new deal.

Odusina has yet to start for the Bantams this season but Ferguson admits it will be good to see the 22-year-old, should he feature, having enjoyed playing alongside him at the Suit Direct Stadium.

“I enjoyed playing alongside Timi, but if he does play we hopefully know some weaknesses [in him].

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Ferguson added of Bradford: “I watched their highlights from Tuesday, they’re on a bit of a patchy run at the minute so they’re going to need a win just as much as we do.

“The good thing is they travelled to Colchester on Tuesday and they’ll be travelling to us on Saturday, so hopefully we’ve got that little advantage with being at home and it works for us.

“I think for any football team, your home form is going to be important. If you can make your home ground a fortress then it's so important, especially every team coming up to our place and the way the fans make it.

“The fans are always tremendous and you feed off that.

“Teams are coming and when they get a point they’re over the moon, which speaks a lot.”