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McCALL'S PRE-MATCH ROCHDALE PRESSER | WHAT WE'VE LEARNED

7 December 2017

Bantams boss Stuart McCall held his usual pre-match press event at the club's Apperley Bridge training ground this Thursday to look ahead to Saturday's (9 December 2017) game with Rochdale.

After matches in the Emirates FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, City return to action in Sky Bet League One with the visit of Rochdale to the Northern Commercials Stadium.

Let's take a look at some of the headlines from Stuart's latest meeting with the assembled media...

Looking for home comforts
McCall is hopeful City can build on last Saturday's Emirates FA Cup victory over Plymouth. The victory at the Northern Commercials Stadium came after a frustrating recent run at home for McCall's men where the results didn't match the performances. He said: "It was important we got the victory last Saturday (vs Plymouth) just to stop a little run we'd been on of poor results at home. The Plymouth game just shows you how football can be at times. They (Plymouth) probably played better last Saturday than they did in the league game which they won. We got the first goal and the bounce of the ball right with our second and third goals though. We might have got some fortune with those goals but we were also happy with the performance - it is just this time we got our rewards. The conditions might be difficult on Saturday but we know we will have to dig in and find a way to get the victory."

Respect for Rochdale
Opponents Rochdale will head to the Northern Commercials Stadium on Saturday sitting just outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone, but McCall knows all about their quality. Dale have kept together most of the squad that saw them narrowly miss out on the Play-Offs last campaign, while Matt Done returned from Sheffield United earlier this season to bolster their attacking ranks. McCall said: "They had some really bad injuries at the start of the season. They were without some key players at the start of the campaign and that hit them hard. We are going through that a little bit now, but they were missing a lot of their top players and their results suffered as well. They are getting their players back now and their results and performances are improving as a result. They went to Charlton recently and lost 2-1 but they could have actually won. Keith Hill's sides always give you a tough time but whichever team we select, we just have to find a way win. It might not be pretty at times but it is all about finding ways of getting the three points, especially at this time of year with the weather and the conditions."   

Injury and illness in the camp
McCall admits that he has more than one fitness issue to check over within his squad ahead of this Saturday. While Colin Doyle, Adam Chicksen, Alex Jones remain sidelined, City have injury concerns over some of their team-mates after problems picked up during last weekend's FA Cup with Plymouth. On top of that, a spot of illness has been affecting members of the group as well this week. McCall said: "We don't have a clean bill of health around the squad at the moment unfortunately. We have a couple of lads who picked up problems last Saturday (vs Plymouth) and haven't trained all this week. They are major doubts for this Saturday. Also, as you tend to get this time of year, we've been hit with a bit of illness as well. Nothing major - a few head colds - but we had to send two of the lads home from training today (Thursday). We are hopeful that they will be fine for Saturday, and we are hoping that no-one else has picked it up."

Reeves update
McCall gave his thoughts on Jake Reeves' possible availability for the weekend. The midfielder, who is one of City's doubts for the Rochdale game, had to be substituted in the second period of City's FA Cup over Plymouth last Saturday after tweaking his groin. Fellow midfielder Timothee Dieng has begun running again after a hamstring problem but the Rochdale game is expected to come too soon for him. McCall said: "We will have to wait until the last minute with Reevesy. He is in that group of players who are currently doubtful for Saturday. What we have to wary about is not playing him just for the sake of playing him and risk him being out for a number of games if he makes things worse. If there is any doubt, you might be best being without him for one game but then allowing things to settle down properly and having him available for the games after that. With the festive period around the corner, we're going to need as many of the squad as possible available to us."

 

Subscribers to iFollow Bantams can watch Stuart McCall's FULL pre-match press interview HERE.

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