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McCALL | PLENTY OF POSITIVES FROM ROCHDALE DRAW

30 April 2017

Bantams boss Stuart McCall says there were plenty of positives for City to take going into the Play-Offs following this Sunday's hard-fought draw at Rochdale.

With one eye on next week's semi-finals, McCall made as many as nine changes for the Bantams' final game of the regular season at the Crown Oil Arena.

It was one of the two players who kept their places in the side - Alex Jones - that handed City an early lead though, the striker firing in after being found by Billy Clarke in the box.

Dale midfielder Matthew Lund levelled things up for the hosts after the break but McCall was still pleased with City's work for the afternoon.

The fit-again duo Matthew Kilgallon and Alex Gilliead returned from injury in the game, while youngsters Matthew Penney, Daniel Pybus and Ellis Hudson were all handed their league debuts from the bench.

McCall said: "From the outside looking in, it would appear like Rochdale would have the greater motivation trying to push into the play-offs, but our lads had great individual motivation.

"The lads coming in today (Sunday) were hugely motivated - they wanted to stake their claim for the play-offs. 

"The front four had a lot of pace and looked dangerous on the attack. Darbs (Stephen Darby), Rory (McArdle) and Killa (Matthew Kilgallon) showed their experience, while Rouven (Sattelmaier) produced some great saves.

"Rochdale are a very good side, especially at home, but we got our blocks in, the 'keeper has made some good stops, and we have carried a threat going forward.

"We had Gilly (Alex Gilliead) and Killy down to play just the first half, so it was great to see Alex get just under an hour and Killa manage to play the whole match.

"It was a great experience for the younger lads as well who came on in the second half.

"The only downside of the day is the lost of Alex Jones to injury. We had him earmarked to come off just a couple of minutes before he got injured over-stretching slightly.

"We will see where we are with him tomorrow (Monday) but it looks like he has tweaked his hamstring and he will miss at least the first play-off game. 

"That aside though, the momentum is strong going into Thursday."

Results elsewhere around Sky Bet League One on the final day of the league campaign mean that City will face Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-finals.

The Bantams will entertain Fleetwood at the Northern Commercials Stadium on Thursday night before travelling to Highbury Stadium for the second leg next Sunday evening.

McCall said: "Both games this season between ourselves and Fleetwood have been quite tight.

"We won at home when Fleetwood maybe deserved a draw and then we lost at their place when we certainly merited something from the game.

"Given the way we played for the most part at Fleetwood earlier this season, and the backing from the travelling support we usually get, it doesn't really matter to me if we were at home or away first.

"We will prepare the best we can for these games and give it everything we've got. 

"We have a 50% chance of making it to Wembley and the lads are very determined to do just that."

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