Footaball: Jewell wants Bradford to be calm

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The Independent Online
PAUL JEWELL, the Bradford City manager, does not want local rivalry to get in the way of their Premiership dream when they face Huddersfield Town at Valley Parade today.

Bradford are in contention for the second automatic promotion place and Jewell is determined his players will not be sidetracked by the derby.

"These games give more of an incentive to the supporters than anyone else," he said.

"The players will notice the difference with the atmosphere but at the end of the day there are still only three points at stake."

Ian Bowyer, Birmingham City's first-team coach, believes victory over Wolves at St Andrew's would take them a significant step closer to the Premiership. "If we can get the right result it will be a massive boost for our play-off push," he said.

At the other end of the table Crewe's Dario Gradi has set his side a stiff target of winning their five remaining games to avoid relegation.

The bottom-placed club face play-off hopefuls Watford at Gresty Road and Gradi said: "If we win all our games then we won't get relegated."

The Hornets are expecting a real battle and Graham Taylor said: "They drew with Birmingham and won 5-1 at West Brom and you don't usually get results like that unless you have something to offer."

Bury's Neil Warnock has told his players to go for broke against Grimsby at Blundell Park in a desperate bid to beat the drop. Bury played well despite losing 5-2 to Sunderland in midweek and Warnock said: "If we play like that we can beat anyone, but if we make the same mistakes in defence we can also be beaten."

Alan Buckley, the Grimsby manager, is expecting a tough afternoon and he said: "In Neil Warnock, Bury have a manager well versed in taking teams up through the divisions and he also makes his sides very difficult to play against."

According to Malcolm Shotton, Oxford's fight against relegation could go right down to the wire. They travel to fellow strugglers Port Vale in a six-pointer and the manager said said: "There are probably still eight clubs who know they're still in danger of the drop."

Port Vale's Brian Horton said: "With us both being down at the bottom, this is obviously seen as the big one, but all our remaining games are big ones because of where we are."

Like Shotton, Portsmouth's Alan Ball believes that any of eight teams could go down but he is confident his side will avoid the drop - even though they are only three points above the relegation zone. They face West Bromwich Albion today, who have faded out of the play-off picture after a disastrous recent run.

Swindon Town travel to Selhurst Park to face the resurgent, if still heavily indebted, Crystal Palace.

PREMIERSHIP PRETENDERS

NATIONWIDE FIRST DIVISION: PROMOTION RUN-IN

BRADFORD CITY: Today: Huddersfield (H); 24 Apr: QPR (A); 1 May: Oxford Utd (H); 9 May: Wolves (A).

IPSWICH TOWN: Today: Bolton (A), 20 Apr: Stockport (H); 24 Apr: Crewe (H); 2 May: Birmingham (A); 9 May: Sheffield Utd (H).

BIRMINGHAM CITY: Today: Wolves (H); 20 Apr: QPR (H); 24 Apr: Bristol City (A); 2 May: Ipswich (H); 9 May: Sunderland (A).

BOLTON WANDERERS: Today: Ipswich (H); 20 Apr: Norwich (A); 23 Apr: Bury (A); 30 Apr: Wolves (H); 9 May: Portsmouth (A).

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Today: Birmingham (A); 25 Apr: WBA (H); 30 Apr: Bolton (A); 4 May: Grimsby (A); 9 May: Bradford City (H).

WATFORD: Today: Crewe (A); 20 Apr: Port Vale (A); 24 Apr: Crystal Palace (H); 1 May: Barnsley (A); 9 May: Grimsby (H).

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