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McCALL'S OXFORD/FLEETWOOD PRESS EVENT | WHAT WE'VE LEARNED

28 December 2017

Ahead of City's extended weekend of action in Sky Bet League One, Bantams boss Stuart McCall held his usual pre-match press event at the club's training ground.

The Bantams entertain Oxford United this Saturday in their final game of 2017 before starting the new calendar year away to Fleetwood Town on New Year's Day.

Let's take a look at the main headlines from McCall's latest meeting with the assembled press this Thursday...

Changes expected
With City set to play two games in just three days either side of the New Year celebrations, McCall says he will look to balance the workload around his squad. McCall said: "Unfortunately we have four or five injuries at the moment that will limit our options. A lot of the lads have played a fair bit of football recently because of these injuries, but we will be making changes on Saturday. That is not a knee-jerk reaction to Tuesday (vs Peterborough), it was already pre-planned. Having not won in the last two games, we know that this Saturday is the most important game at present. There is no mental fatigue within the squad but we will need to assess the group tomorrow (Friday) to see how they are doing physically ahead of the two games."

Managing the matches
Despite the busy schedule over this coming weekend, McCall is confident his players and staff can cope with the tasks ahead of them. McCall said: "We have enough experience in our coaching staff and the dressing room. We know that the group will be honest enough to say how they are feeling between the two games. Speaking to the players, you will get the idea of how they are doing and what they can manage in the two matches."

Open to all eventualities
Given that both Oxford and Fleetwood are likely to make changes as well to their starting XI for the encounters with the Bantams, McCall says City must focus mainly on themselves over these two holidays fixtures said: "We will always take an interest in what the opposition might do, but we must have a clear idea of how we are going to approach the game. We cannot get too focused on Oxford setting up in this way or that way because they could easily change things to accommodate these two matches. We have to focus on what we need to do and what we must do better. There are certain things, certainly defensively, we can work on during training. Some of the positional errors we have made that have resulted in goals recently can be ironed out on the training pitch."

Possible fresh legs to help the cause?
Ahead of City's double-header with Oxford and Fleetwood, the relative fresh legs of Timothee Dieng, Jake Reeves and Nathaniel Knight-Percival could benefit the Bantams. Fit-again Dieng hasn't started a game since picking up an injury in October, Reeves was an unused substitute on Boxing Day, while Knight-Percival is back in contention after a recent hamstring problem. McCall said: "Tim got 45 minutes the other day (vs Peterborough). He's been out for a while, though, so if he started a game we might be able to get an hour or so out of him at the moment. Reevesy has missed a few (games) recently. He's had a little rest after his injection, so he will be champing at the bit to get back involved. With Nat, we will assess him to see if he has a chance for Saturday. We will look at the group for this Saturday against Oxford and then re-evaluate things for Fleetwood on Monday." 


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