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League Two

Sammy McIlroy's Blog 5

19 September 2012

Every club needs a local hero and it seems to me that Bradford City have found theirs in the shape of striker James Hanson, who has begun the season in tremendous form.

I first clapped eyes on James when I was Morecambe boss and I thought to myself; 'oh dear, this giant lad could be handful,' and that's exactly what he was. With all due respect he's not a fantastic natural footballer but at six foot four and brave as a lion, your heart goes in your mouth every time the ball goes into the penalty box when you're an opposition manager. He frightens you with his presence.

The Bantams fans will not only be enjoying James Hanson's goals but they'll also be loving the fact that he's a local lad, too. He hails from the area and worked in a supermarket while plying his trade in non-league, so he's a guy they can relate to as well.

At Macclesfield Town we had a local player called John Askey who was just the same, and the supporters adored him. I played John in a variety of different positions but he never once moaned because he loved the club, and wouldn't have swapped playing for Macclesfield for anywhere else. He brought a feel-good factor to the place and was so popular with the fans.

Having a player like that is also nice for the dressing room. John Askey got all sorts of stick and suffered many wind-ups from the rest of the lads because of the affection in which he was held by the fans but it was all positive stuff that we could enjoy together.

With Hanson firing in the goals for an in-form Bradford City side, the immediate future looks bright for the club, and if the crowds remain around 9,000-10,000 mark that's going to be a huge factor in their potential success. They've been in the doldrums have Bradford, but you sense good times aren't far away now.

It's a very different story down at AFC Wimbledon at the moment sadly, where the Dons are struggling badly.

Terry Brown was very emotional after their defeat at home to Torquay United and although it's not confirmed at the time of writing, there is speculation that he was waving a goodbye to the fans at the final whistle on Tuesday night.

Terry is a lovely man, and a true club legend for bringing AFC Wimbledon into the npower Football League so whatever happens he should always hold his head up high. I suspect he will want to make sure he puts the club before himself and that's a measure of him as a person.

Sometimes results just don't go your way and as the boss it can hurt you terribly. When you can't buy a win it gets to you, so I feel very sad for Terry Brown.

Before I left Morecambe I got very down. One morning I was driving in to training and it hit me that I just wasn't enjoying it anymore. The home form was poor and I couldn't stop going over stuff in my mind. It was awful. So at that point I decided enough was enough and walked away, and perhaps that's the stage Terry is reaching at the moment. Results dictate a managers' happiness, that's a fact.

This weekend's crunch game sees the top two going head-to-head when Port Vale entertain leaders Gillingham.

Both clubs are accruing a lot of points at the moment, setting themselves up for big seasons, and the key objective for Micky Adams and Martin Allen will be simply to maintain the momentum. It's all about capturing the ingredients that are helping them succeed and not letting them go.

This fixture isn't a title-decider, and it won't tell us anything concrete about either side but the winner - if there is one - will lay down a marker and let everyone know that they're going to be hard to top in npower League 2 this season.

Goals are flowing for Vale and the Gills right now so it's the undoubted game of the day. If you're in the area and fancy watching a top match, Vale Park is the place to be on Saturday afternoon.

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