Bradford City v Bury: Stage fright is costing Bantams says Lawn

League two: MARK LAWN believes Bradford City have this season suffered several controversial refereeing decisions due to officials being determined to prove they are not intimidated by League Two's biggest crowd.

The Bantams boast an average attendance of 11,382 this season thanks to an imaginative season ticket policy, a figure which dwarfs the rest of the basement division's gates.

Only Notts County with 7,157 are watched by even half the number who flock through the turnstiles every other week at Valley Parade.

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Joint chairman Lawn is delighted with such dedication though he feels the flipside this term has been the club being on the end of several debatable calls from the officials.

He said: "I am big believer that you make your own luck in life and that those who work hardest are the luckiest. But we have also been on the end of some poor refereeing decisions at home.

"We have even had a couple of letters of apology from referees after games this season. It has been frustrating and, in a strange way, we are possibly a victim of attracting the biggest gates in League Two.

"It seems some referees are coming to Valley Parade and subconsciously thinking 'I'm not going to be swayed by 12,000 fans'. The result is we have been on the end of some debatable decisions, such as penalty appeals being turned down and players sent off.

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"The referees are not doing it deliberately. But because some are not used to such a big crowd, I believe it is having an influence on their thinking.

"Understandably, they want to prove a big crowd will not sway them but, in my opinion, this has led to some going too far the other way.

"I believe the referees would be helped by more guidance from the FA. Some of them are just starting out in the League and are not used to officiating in front of such a big crowd."

The Bantams go in search of their first home win since October today when promotion-chasing Bury are the visitors to Valley Parade.

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Manager Stuart McCall remains under pressure despite the last-gasp win at Torquay United last week and joint chairman Lawn is hoping the win on the 'English Riviera' can signal an upturn in fortunes.

He said: "If we can get four or five good results in a row then we can get ourselves back into the play-off race."