There are not many players who could say that they reached both a League Cup final and a play-off final in the same year.
Yet in a remarkable 2012/13 campaign, Nakhi Wells led a Bradford City side to do just that despite the club being in League Two, a fitting achievement for an individual who fought from the very start to become a professional footballer.
Born in Bermuda, the marksman had to wait until 2011 before he was finally given the opportunity to show just what he was capable of producing by Carlisle United. However, in what was a tough start to life in England, Wells failed to produce for the Cumbrians and was released at the end of the season, throwing his future in doubt. A successful trial at Bradford City gave him the opportunity at a second chance which he grabbed with both hands.
Following a promising debut season with the Bantams, the next year saw him exceed all expectations set by the club as his goals fired the club into the League Cup semi-finals where they would face Aston Villa. In one of the greatest nights in recent history at Valley Parade, Wells opened the scoring against the Lions before late goals from Rory McArdle and Carl McHugh secured a 3-1 victory in the first leg. Despite losing the return tie 2-1, Bradford secured a 4-3 aggregrate win which took them within one game of winning the tournament.
Unfortunately for Phil Parkinson’s side, Swansea City had other ideas and humbled their opponents at Wembley Stadium by winning 5-0.
Whereas many teams would have crumbled after such a result, Bradford did the opposite and used the motivation to get back to the national stadium via the play-offs as motivation. With Wells and James Hanson leading the line, the club went on a fantastic run which eventually culminated in a winner-takes-all clash with Northampton Town.
Using their previous experience of playing at Wembley to their advantage, the Bantams ran riot and deservedly beat a Cobblers side who were second-best from the very first minute. With his side already leading 2-0, Wells scored the goal which wrapped up victory and promotion to League One, taking his tally to 26 for the season.
The 2013/14 season saw the former Carlisle forward continue his impressive form as he found the back of the net on 15 occasions in just 21 appearances before Huddersfield Town decided to make their move in the January transfer window. Four successful years with the Terriers culminated in Wells achieving promotion to the Premier League via another play-off success.
A switch to Burnley followed which has unfortunately seen the Bermudan’s career spiral. After failing to impress for the Clarets last season, Wells was loaned out to Queens Park Rangers at the start of the current campaign and has only delivered sporadically for the club. With Sean Dyche preferring the likes of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes leading the line at Turf Moor, it is unclear where the future lies for the 28-year-old.
Although he would understandably want to receive another shot at Premier League success, it could be argued that his undeniable talent is more suited to the Championship.
Whatever the future may hold for Wells, he will forever be remembered by Bradford fans as one of the key players which delivered one of their most memorable seasons to date.
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