Confidence and self-belief are what Bradford midfielder Tom Adeyemi feels the team needs in order to climb back up the table.
The Bantams are suffering from a bad run of form which has seen them slide well into the bottom half of npower League Two, but 19-year-old Adeyemi is refusing to be pessimistic about their chances of a revival.
The dismal run of form, which started with a 3-1 loss to lowly Barnet three weeks ago, has seen the Bantams slip away from the brink of the play-off positions. The prospect of a relegation fight is looking ever more likely and City will need to shrug off their current form if they are to get their season back on track.
The pressures that come with the position that Bradford currently find themselves in may be difficult for a lot of young players to cope with. Not for Adeyemi, however. The youngster, who recorded two A*s and an A in his A-levels last year, is refusing to let the current situation drag him down and he is maintaining a positive attitude as he aims to help the club fight their way back up the table.
The former England Under-17 star said: “After the recent run of results confidence isn’t exactly in abundance in the squad but if we keep believing in ourselves we can start getting the right results and turn things around.
“The fact that we are where we are in the league doesn’t mean we can’t
beat the teams above us. Look at Bury, they’re one of the best sides in
the division and we’ve beaten them twice.
“This league is very tight and on our day we can beat anybody in it. If we can put a couple of decent results together that will give us the confidence to push on and then things could be looking very different.”
The recent form has seen boss Peter Taylor come under increasing pressure from small sections of the Bradford support, and the former England caretaker manager recently conceded that City are finding themselves in more of a relegation fight than a promotion push.
These comments were echoed by Adeyemi, who said: “We have to be realistic, in the last four games we haven’t come away with any points and that’s relegation form, not promotion form. If we believe in ourselves we can get back up there but at the minute we have to concentrate on getting away from the relegation zone.”
The versatile midfielder, who was named last year’s League One Managers’ Apprentice of the Year, also defended his boss against the Bradford boo-boys, saying: “I think the criticism that the manager’s receiving is unfair. He can only do so much to prepare the team and then it’s up to us to do the business on the pitch.
“He’s a manager with a lot of experience, he’s well respected and has done well in the game. He doesn’t deserve that.”
Adeyemi is enjoying a very productive year in his first full senior season which has seen him appear 22 times in claret and amber and bag himself his first two senior goals.
He recently had his initial six- month loan extended until the end of the season, proving how much Taylor values his contributions.
Although he sees the centre of midfield as his natural position, much of the reason Adeyemi has featured so prominently may be due to his ability to play anywhere across the middle.
He said: “I’m more than happy to play wherever the manager wants me to. It’s good to have a bit of versatility, other managers will be able to see that I can play in more than one position and it’s a valuable attribute.
“I’m enjoying my time here. It would be better if we could get a few decent results and then we’d all be enjoying it a little bit more, but it’s been really good for me so far.
“My ultimate ambition is to return to Norwich next season and try to break into the side there, but I came here to gain some first-team experience and it’s great for me to be involved in so much senior football.
“I think a lot of my better performances have come away from home but I don’t know the reason for that. Bradford have incredible support for the league they are in and it’s great to be playing at such a big club
week in, week out. “
The rookie midfielder faces a task ahead in trying to keep a regular spot in the side following the arrival of the experienced Jon Worthington, after being released by Oldham, and the return from injury of Michael Flynn, who made 41 appearances last year, helping himself to six goals.
With top-scorer David Syers also competing for a starting spot, Adeyemi knows places will be limited. He is relishing the competition, however.
“It’s definitely a good thing,” he said. “Competition is important, it brings out the best in people. I know I have to push myself and keep working hard or I will not be in the side and I didn’t come here to sit on the sidelines.”