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McCALL PLEASED TO MAINTAIN WINNING START TO THE YEAR

7 January 2017

Bantams boss Stuart McCall was more than happy to take the points from an entertaining encounter with Chesterfield at the Northern Commercials Stadium this Saturday.

First half goals from Mark Marshall and Jordy Hiwula proved enough to secure a 2-0 victory for City, making it back-to-back wins for McCall's men at the start of 2017 following their away success over Northampton Town on Bank Holiday Monday.

Although the Bantams eased to victory in the end, Chesterfield did have their moments in the match. 

The industrious Ched Evans hit the post in the first half and saw a decent penalty appeal waved away after tangling with Nathaniel Knight-Percival in the box after the break.

In response, City could have made the scoreline look even more comfortable in the game's latter stages, with Hiwula, Nicky Law, Marshall and Timothee Dieng all threatening.

Speaking after the Chesterfield encounter, McCall was quick to admit that City had to fight hard at times for their victory but he knows the overall result is the most important thing.

McCall said: "It was great to get the two-goal lead before half time.

"We've conceded the first goal on the last couple of games, so it was good to get our noses in front first this time around. 

"The goal just before the break was a particular boost for us.

"We would have liked to have gone out in the second period and grabbed a third and really dominated the game, but Chesterfield are really fighting for their lives and, in fairness to them, they had a right go at us.

"We had to really defend well at times - another clean sheet to go with the win is obviously terrific.

"They've had opportunities to score but, equally, we've had chances to score more later in the game.

"We've probably played better at times at home this season and only got a point, so we gladly take this win, the two goals, the clean sheets and the two wins out of two at the start of the year."

With James Hanson suffering a minor injury in training during the week, new signing Alex Jones was given an instant debut for the Bantams alongside Hiwula in attack.

After only recently recovering from a bout of illness, a tiring Jones was replaced on seventy minutes after showing some bright touches on his first game in City colours.

The change saw Stephen Darby come on into his usual right back slot, with Tony McMahon and Marshall pushed further forward up the pitch as a result.

McCall added: "We've obviously lost Haris (Vuckic) and Marc (McNulty) recently, Fil (Morais), Billy (Clarke) and Hans (James Hanson) were all out injured for this one, so we decided to put Alex in from the start.

"It won't have been easy for Alex to start today (Saturday) as he's missed a week or so recently due to illness and he only just met his team-mates properly for the first time on Friday.

"The way he carries himself though, he was never going to be fazed by the crowd or the occasion.

"He is just eager to get going and impress.

"We knew he would tire but we were pleased with his overall display this afternoon.

"James (Hanson) got a slight muscle injury on Thursday. He was still desperate to play, but we took it out of his hands and chose not to select him.

"We didn't want another situation like we've had with Tony McMahon or Billy Clarke where they put themselves out for longer by playing on an injury.

"If we'd managed to get a third goal early in the second period, it might have given us the chance to bring a Reece Webb-Foster or a Ellis Hudson off the bench.

"But Chesterfield were still pushing all the way and we needed to make a change because Alex was looking physical tired after his recent illness.

"We thought putting Marshy up there (in attack) would cause them some problems with his pace. Tony McMahon looked comfortable in a position (right midfield) he has played in last season, and we created some decent chances thereafter.

"That was the only downside from today - we could have scored more goals. Equally though, they could have scored themselves so we gladly take this win and move onto Shrewsbury Town next weekend."


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