BRADFORD Town chairman Mark Hodkinson has pledged to back ambitious Danny Greaves all the way after the manager played an unexpected role in reaching the last 16 of the FA Vase for the second time in their history.

Greaves stepped off the bench during last weekend's FA Vase fourth round tie at Isle of Wight side Newport (IW) and donned the gloves after keeper Charlie Phillips was dismissed on 20 minutes, Bradford going on to win 1-0.

It was a victory that earned Bradford a place in the fifth round for the second time in the last four seasons and saw them bank £1,875 in prize money.

“It was very dramatic,” reflected Hodkinson. “The boys started off so well and did exactly what Danny had asked them to do.

“After 20 minutes Charlie came out, there was an awkward bounce, he didn’t have much of a chance and it hit his arm. It was a red card whether he meant it or not and you just thought ‘this can’t be happening’.

“But I think Lady Luck was smiling on us. If everybody had been fit and available then Danny wouldn’t have been among the substitutes.

“And the 10 men were tremendous – we were the better side and thoroughly deserved to win the game.”

Vase favourites Marske United stand between Bradford and a place in the quarter-finals on February 3 and the squad will stay overnight near Wakefield – about an hour away from the ground – on the eve of the big match in Redcar.

Hodkinson said: “We’ve got to do everything as professionally as we can to give the boys the best chance possible of getting the result.

“We’ve got to go there and forget they are one of the favourites and play to the best of our ability.

“They are still the same level as us – not two or three above. We can’t show any fear. It’s all about what happens on the day and they may underestimate us.

“It’s a new bunch of players – probably only one or two are still here from the last time we reached this stage – and what an experience it is for them to reach the last 16 of a national competition. There are not a lot of people in the country who can say that, at any level.”

With two promotion places potentially up for grabs from the Toolstation Premier Division this term and Bradford currently sitting third in the table, the Vase is just one aspect of what could turn out the be the finest season in the club’s short history.

Hodkinson confirmed that, in the event of a top-two finish, the Bobcats would apply for promotion to the Southern League and look to add the extra seating and fencing required to bring their Trowbridge Road headquarters up to scratch for the higher grade.

He said: “The ground grading rules have changed slightly in that you can get promoted and then have until the following March to get the ground up to the correct specification. In the past, clubs might have spent £20-30,000 and then lost their last three or four matches and not gone up anyway.

“I think as a football club if you have any ambition then you have to take it and then work as hard as you have to to get the ground up to the required standard. Danny is ambitious, as are a lot of the players, and you can’t just pass up the chance of promotion.”

Hodkinson is also a key player in the push for a ‘multi-sports hub’ for Bradford on Avon on the Beehive Field, but with plans still at an early stage he said on-field progress could not be allowed to stagnate until such time as the vision is realised.

“The town wants it but it’s a massive project also involving the Bradford Town Youth teams and the archery and bowls clubs that use Trowbridge Road,” added Hodkinson.

“It’s a slow process and we need to get everything right first time. Once it’s signed off and you’ve asked for a sum of money then there is no going back and asking for more.

“So we are caught between a rock and a hard place because the money we spend on Trowbridge Road could potentially be dead money but I can’t just say to Danny ‘wait three or four years’. He’s a breath of fresh air and we want to back him. We may never get the opportunity again.”