STEPHEN WARNOCK believes Bradford City have restored a sense of pride since hitting rock bottom at Blackpool earlier this month.
The Bantams’ 5-0 drubbing at Bloomfield Road was branded “pathetic and embarrassing” by manager Simon Grayson.
City’s 2,000 supporters were even more damning in their verdict at the seaside, chanting ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ at the shell-shocked players.
Since then, however, Bradford are unbeaten in four games with Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Milton Keynes Dons lifting the club back up to 10th in the table.
“We all had to look at ourselves in the mirror after the Blackpool game,” said the 36-year-old Warnock, who will retire at the end of the season.
“As players, you don’t ever want people singing ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ at you. I can’t remember ever hearing that in my career. That was the one thing that hurt me.
There was a lot of pride hurt against Blackpool. Fair play to the lads for sticking together and we have come out the other side.Stephen Warnock
“When you hear that towards the end of your career, you don’t want to finish on that note. It was tough to take.
“We had to get some pride back in the team for the fans. For the last few games, we have been a lot better, more organised and we are doing quite well at the moment.
“There was a lot of pride hurt against Blackpool. Fair play to the lads for sticking together and we have come out the other side.”
With back-to-back home games against Southend United and Walsall coming up in the next six days, Bradford have the chance to continue their late season upturn in form.
After that, the final day brings a trip to sixth-placed Scunthorpe United. It will take more or less every result elsewhere going in City’s favour if the journey to Glanford Park is to be undertaken with a chance of the play-offs to still be alive but the mood around Valley Parade is noticeably brighter thanks to taking eight points from four games since the Blackpool debacle.
“There has (been a lift in the mood) but then there is the other side of it and the lads know they have to be professional and work hard every day,” added the left-back, on loan at City for a second occasion, this time from Burton Albion.
“The senior players try and set that round the building to pass it on to the others and it seems to be working at the moment.”
Tuesday’s 2-0 triumph over MK Dons brought Bradford’s first back-to-back wins on home soil since September.
It is an indication of just how reliant City were on their away form in the first half of the season, Stuart McCall’s men boasting the best record on the road in the Football League up to January 1.
Saturday’s encounter with Southend and then the visit of Walsall three days later offers a further chance to give supporters some long overdue cheer at a ground where the pitch has been in a shocking state for months.
“We want the fans to come and enjoy seeing a winning team,” added Warnock. “That is all they want.
“Sometimes you want to play football that is more pleasing on the eye but you have to adapt to the conditions and the pitch.
“You have to start a certain way, which we have done and we have stayed in the game for longer. Then we build from there – and we are doing that very well.
“The two lads up front (Charlie Wyke and Kai Bruenker) are key to what we are doing. They are closing down and really setting the tempo. Credit to everyone round the club for sticking together.”