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McCALL MULLING OVER HIS OPTIONS

16 September 2016

Bantams boss Stuart McCall admits he has a pleasing selection dilemma on his hands ahead of Saturday's return to the Northern Commercials Stadium to face Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League One.

City are set for their first home league fixture in three weeks at the weekend when Rovers arrive at Valley Parade after to back-to-back away games at Millwall and Gillingham.

The Bantams picked up two commendable draws from those games on the road, extending City's unbeaten start to the league campaign in the process, but with deadline day signings and fit-again players recently swelling the ranks, McCall knows he has options to make changes as and when he sees fit, despite the club's encouraging results so far this season.

After being named on the substitutes' bench last Saturday at Gillingham, the attacking trio of Haris Vuckic, Marc McNulty and James Hanson will all be pushing hard for starting berths against Rovers.

Jordy Hiwula did net City's all-important equaliser against the Gills, however, while Billy Clarke could be seen as a key component in the passing style of football McCall has introduced this season.

In defence, the experienced Matthew Kilgallon could also be eyeing up a place in McCall's starting line up, a move which, in theory, may possibly allow Romain Vincelot to move up into his more natural position of central midfield.

Defensive trio Tony McMahon, Nathan Clarke and Rory McArdle are all back in full training, with McArdle having made his return from injury in Tuesday's reserve match at Hartlepool United.

McMahon could feature in Saturday's match-day squad although McCall feels the game is likely to come just a bit too soon for Clarke and McArdle.

Whichever way McCall eventually does end up going though, the City chief readily acknowledges that training has certainly been competitive throughout this week as his squad all look to impress.

McCall said: "The lads have all trained really well this week.

"The tempo and the standard of all of the sessions has been excellent - it is exactly what we've been after.

"After two decent performances at Millwall and Gillingham, we'll look to kick on this Saturday against Bristol Rovers.

"They will have their own threats in the game - we know they have scored in every game this season.

"Matty Taylor up front is obviously a big threat for them but they showed on Tuesday night in their draw with Walsall that they have other good players as well.

"We had twenty players out on the training pitch today (Thursday) which really helps us and allow us to work on a lot more things.

"It was pleasing to see Rory get ninety minutes in the reserves, it was also good to see Nathan Clarke and Macca (Tony McMahon) come through some tough training sessions.

"The lads know themselves, they only have to look around at the other players within the squad to see the standard they are up against and the standard they have to produce in training to try and get a shirt.

"I must admit throughout this week, we've had different options for our strike-force.

"On Monday, it was a certain two, Tuesday, a different two, and then today (Thursday) we're thinking about a different two again.

"They are all pushing each other, not just in attack. In wide areas, central midfield and defence as well, we could probably pick five or six different sides for Saturday.

"They will be some of the lads naturally disappointed not to make it into the side but they will have to make sure that if they are on the bench, they are ready come on and stake a claim if called upon.

"We will choose the best eleven and the best formation we feel for playing Bristol Rovers but, equally, we have to be ready to be flexible and adaptable throughout the game.

"We know we're at home, we have our plans for the game, and we want to give it a real go from the very start."


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