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13 January 2018

Speaking after Saturday's loss to Northampton Town, Bantams boss Stuart McCall knows City remain in a strong position in the league and he is confident they can kick on in the second period of the campaign.

Despite a strong late fight-back from McCall's men, City fell to a 2-1 defeat to Northampton in their first match at 2018 at the Northern Commercials Stadium.

With Charlie Wyke ruled out through injury, McCall put Nathaniel Knight-Percival in attack in the second period to give the Bantams a bit more aerial support going forward.

Wyke's injury is the latest in a number of fitness problems to affect City in recent weeks, but McCall hopes this situation will improve soon enough.

Regardless of player availability though, the City chief is aware that his side must make themselves harder to score against in future games.

McCall said: "There is clear disappointment after this one, but we have to keep pushing.

"If someone would have offered me our league position and points tally now at the start of the season, I would have gladly taken it.

"We know we need to strengthen, and we will strengthen. We have bids in for players but we also need a bit of help with the injuries.

"Players coming back from injury will give us a boost.

"On top of the players we've had out today (Saturday), there is the likes of Reevesy (Jake Reeves) and Dom (Poleon) who are probably still not 100% match fit.

"We started poorly but I felt we got better as the first half went on.

"We tried to be more 'up and at them' in the second period, and we put Nat (Knight-Percival) up front to try and give us a better chance to contest the ball.

"He gave us a bit of a physical presence up front.

"Given the chances we made in the second period, we perhaps merited a point in the end.

"We've given away two poor goals today though.

"Getting the first goal today was going to be important, so losing a goal from a set-piece just before half time was clearly a blow.

"We knew they would be a threat from set-pieces but we have to stay with our men.

"Their second goal comes from a bit of an error from us as well.

"We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot and giving soft goals away.

"We know we are struggling a bit with injuries at the moment but we have to put a halt to conceding these simple goals.

"That second goal has obviously been a big hit against us but we still had our chances.

"We've probably created enough chances in the second period to deserve a draw, but the second goal we conceded was poor and left us with a little bit too much to do.

"There wasn't perhaps the greatest quality out there today but the lads kept going and going."

Top-scorer Wyke was unavailable to City for the Northampton encounter this Saturday due to a back strain.

Adam Thompson was also ruled out of the game through injury.

McCall explained: "Charlie actually had a bit of illness earlier this week, but his main problem has been a strain in his lower back.

"He was struggling with it from after the Yeovil Town game (last weekend) really.

"He is feeling better with it now, which is encouraging, but it is too early to say if he will be ready for next weekend (vs Bristol Rovers).

"Adam Thompson aggravated an injury in his sort of hip flexor/groin region in training on Tuesday. He could be out for a week or two with it."

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