Bradford City defender Kelleher cannot wait for home noise


The clash with Barrow will be the first league appearance at home for the centre half, who is deputising for injured skipper Niall Canavan.

And the big Irishman admits he cannot wait to savour playing in front of the stadium in its full glory.

“It really excites me to get out there this weekend in front of the home fans,” he said.

“Even from just being on the bench, seeing it looks incredible. I can’t wait to experience that on the pitch.

“You get the full experience now with fans being back in and really get to know what the club is about and what it means to people.

“I’m starting to feel that now and get passionate about it. It’s starting to mean as much to me as it does to the fans.

“Even when I’m sitting on the bench, I’m just willing the boys to win as well.”

Kelleher performed solidly in the absence of hamstring victim Canavan at Salford and was gutted to lose late on. He knows the pressure is on the Bantams to get back to scoring and winning again.

“The fans expect more and the feeling is mutual. We know ourselves that three games without a win now is just not acceptable.

“For where we want to go, we have to start turning these draws into wins and iron out the basics like conceding a goal off a set-piece as we did on Saturday.

“We didn’t play too badly for large parts and we’re creating so many chances. We just haven’t had that bit of luck in front of goal.

“But if we’re not scoring, it’s not just about Andy Cook sticking them in. We have eight or nine corners every game so us defenders need to be playing our part and sticking our head on a few as well.”

The Valley Parade audience will be the largest league crowd Kelleher has played in front of and he appreciates the backing from the fans.

“I can’t speak highly enough of them,” he added. “They were very good to me last week because obviously I was coming in for Naz, who they have a lot of loyalty to which is more than justified.

“They got behind me and that really helps.

“It’s never nice to come in the team this way with Naz getting injured. He is the skipper and a massive part of the group.

“But for me, it’s all about showing what I can do now and take the chance.

Kelleher played at home in the Papa John’s Trophy against Lincoln but his only other appearance this season before Salford was as a late substitute at Leyton Orient.

“You have to make sure you are ready at any time. It was a case of staying concentrated and knowing I was in the best possible condition.

“I felt quite comfortable, I don’t get too many nerves. There was a good support so that gives you a boost.

“I’ve been training quite hard so I fitted in quite well. Paudie (O’Connor), Oz (Oscar Threlkeld) and Liam (Ridehalgh) made it quite easy because all three of them had a good game again.

“It’s a hard job to replace Naz but I’ll play my game. I’m a bit different to him, a slighter build, and hopefully I can do well.”


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