MARK HUDSON enjoys playing in a five-man midfield almost as much as scoring goals.

So far in his career, neither have happened that often.

It was therefore a double dose of pleasure at Valley Parade last Saturday, when his 25th-minute header brought Town their 1-0 derby win at Bradford.

It was the third time Peter Jackson had flooded the midfield in away games this campaign, and the second season in a row the 25-year-old had scored on the turf of Town's arch-rivals.

"The main thing is that we got the three points," said the Bishop Auckland-born former Middlesbrough player of the victory which stretched Town's unbeaten run to four League I matches.

"But from a personal point of view, it was great to get the goal.

"When I scored from a free-kick at Bradford last season, the lads insisted it was a complete fluke.

"But there was no doubt that I meant it on Saturday.

"To be fair, Gary Taylor- Fletcher made it pretty straightforward for me, because he put in a great deep cross which took out a couple of their players.

"I'd made my run, and when I saw the goalkeeper (Donovan Ricketts) hanging back, I thought 'we could be on here'.

"David Wetherall was still a few paces away and I managed to jump above Steve Schumacher and get a good connection.

"I aimed for the corner of the net, and while it felt a bit like a slow-motion replay, it got there eventually!

"It was great to see it go in and great to get one the way I did, because most of the lads would say I'm not the best header of a ball."

It was the fifth Town goal and 15th in the career of the man who joined Town from Chesterfield the summer before last and was playing his 171st senior game (49 of them have been for Town).

Three of the last four games (at Swansea, Tranmere and Bradford) featured a five-man midfield, and it's a formation which suits Hudson.

"Don't get me wrong, I'd play any position in any system, but 4-5-1 is brilliant for someone like myself," he said.

"The fact that there is an extra man anchoring (Tom Clarke in the 2-1 win at Swansea and 2-2 draw at Tranmere and Jon Worthington at Bradford) makes it easier for the other two central midfield men (Hudson and Michael Collins) to get forward.

"In a four-man midfield, you have to have one central player going and the other sitting.

"With a five, it's important to give the lone striker as much support as possible and try and get the two widemen into play, and with the security of a player covering behind, you can do just that.

"The key to making the system work is in not conceding - that's why we had to abandon it after going two behind at Tranmere - and I thought we defended superbly as a team at Bradford.

"We knew it would be a battle, and that first and foremost, we had to get stuck in and stop them playing any fluent football.

"That's just what we did, and while we managed to stall them, I thought we were bright going forward ourselves.

"Martin McIntosh, who with Nathan Clarke, did really well in central defence, got in a couple of decent headers, and I thought Matty Young provided us with a great outlet.

"He ran his socks off all afternoon and it was good to see him play the entire match.

"It was a bright day all round, but it's a important that we remember it's just one win.

"It's a case of kicking on from here, maintaining our encouraging away record and improving our home form and getting back up that table to where we should be."

MARK HUDSON has scored five goals for Town. Here's when and how they came:

* Oct 10, 2005: direct shot from free-kick was Town's second in a 2-1 victory at Bradford.

* Oct 22, 2005: rounded keeper and netted the first in a 4-3 defeat at Chesterfield.

* Nov 12, 2005: tapped in the second from close range in a 2-1 win at Yeovil (later sent off!).

* Sept 16, 2006: 20-yard screamer was first in a 3-2 home defeat by Yeovil.

* Oct 7, 2006: headed home the 25th-minute winner as Town won 1-0 at Bradford.