Football: Jewell's gems in recovery mode

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The Independent Online
HAVING PUNCHED above their weight all season, Paul Jewell's Bradford are not about to let last Sunday's late stumble to the canvas at the hands of Birmingham upset their plans to join the big hitters of English football next season.

Like the most determined pugilist, the Bradford manager urged his charges to show "100 per cent commitment and desire" at the start of the season and believes they have responded admirably. The west Yorkshire side are in second place in the First Division and in position for a play-off place at least.

City were beaten last Sunday after dominating the game but Jewell is adamant his team can overcome that setback when Watford visit Valley Parade. "We can't ask for any more from the players. We demand 100 per cent commitment and desire to the cause," Jewell said. "We are getting that and allied to the ability of the players, I think we'll be OK. But as soon as we stop working hard, we'll be in trouble. We have recovered from last week's defeat because we have to. It's no good feeling sorry for yourself."

Watford might be content with last week's 2-1 victory over the League leaders, Sunderland, but Graham Taylor insists victory today would be an even greater scalp. "For us, to go and win at Bradford will be a bigger and better achievement that last week's victory over Sunderland," the manager said.

Lee Clark returns for Sunderland against Swindon at the Stadium of Light, defusing talk that he was about to leave the club. Clark was involved in an on-field argument with club captain, Kevin Ball, during the 2-1 Worthington Cup semi-final first leg defeat by Leicester and was then left out of the squad for the defeat at Watford due to a knock on the ankle he broke on the opening day of the season. However, the Wearsiders' assistant manager, Bob Saxton, insists that Clark is staying. "As far as I'm aware, Lee Clark is a player with this football club and he is not available for transfer," he said.

Colin Todd, the Nationwide manager of the month, is understandably convinced that his Bolton side are fast becoming the team to be beat after a 12- match unbeaten run ahead of the visit to Grimsby. "I'm sure Grimsby will rise to the occasion. Every team in the League is looking to beat Bolton right now," Todd said.

The Manchester City manager, Joe Royle, has warned his players there must be no repeat of September's bad-tempered meeting with Millwall when the two sides meet in the Second Division today. "We'll need calm heads and discipline," he said. "We have to be aggressive and strong but we must be sure to finish the game with 11 players on the pitch."