City determined to take alternative route to Wembley

Bradford City's James Hanson is tackled by Reading's Nathaniel Chalobah and Michael Hector during Monday night's FA Cup sixth-round replay (Picture: James Hardisty).
Bradford City's James Hanson is tackled by Reading's Nathaniel Chalobah and Michael Hector during Monday night's FA Cup sixth-round replay (Picture: James Hardisty).
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JAMES HANSON believes Bradford City can channel their 
FA Cup disappointment to earn a Wembley trip in the League One play-offs.

The Bantams crashed out in Monday’s quarter-final replay at Championship side Reading.

A poor start that saw the Royals race into a two-goal lead inside nine minutes ended any hopes of meeting Arsenal in the last four at the national stadium.

Now, though, Hanson believes City are ready to step up things in the league and clinch a top-six spot. He said: “It was a frustrating way to go out but the big thing now is we can focus on the league. That is what matters now.

“We had done ever so well to get to the FA Cup quarter-final and we will all remember it for years to come. But now we want to get to Wembley through the play-offs. We know we are more than capable of doing it.

“We need to string a few results together. If we do that, we could be in a good position. Things are so tight that whoever goes on a run now is going to have a great chance.”

City have been in and around the play-off spots since Christmas thanks to a run of 19 games that has included just four losses.

Hanson, a survivor from the Bantams’ side that lost the 2013 Capital One Cup final and bounced back to clinch promotion at Wembley three months later, said: “We were saying on the way to Reading that even though we have had all these Cup games, we have still managed to stay in touch.

“Now we have 12 games to go and there is nothing else to focus on. That means we can give it a big push.

“We have a great squad and I think we can give it one almighty push to get there. This club has shown what can happen when you bounce back well.

“It all starts on Saturday, which is a massive game. Fleetwood at home is a chance for us to get back up and running. Three points can get everything started and help us go on a run.”

City’s dejection at losing against Reading was compounded by the dismissal of Filipe Morais during the second half.

He is facing a three-game ban after being shown a straight red card by referee Mike Jones for a challenge on Nathaniel Chalobah.

“It was a frustrating way to go out,” said Hanson. “We didn’t start great and going behind didn’t help. Then the second one, which was a bit of a fluke, went in and there was a mountain to climb.

“A few decisions didn’t go our way, either. But I thought our fans were brilliant and really kept us going. Even at 3-0 down, they never stopped singing. We didn’t get a touch for five minutes at one stage, but they kept us going.

“We are all grateful for those who made the long trip on a Monday night, taking time off work and all that. They make such a big difference to us.”