Gary Bowyer was pleased his Bradford City team showed they can match it with League One opposition in the FA Cup. Now they have to get their heads down and win back their place in the third tier.
The Bantams were involved in two tight games with Shrewsbury Town, three points outside the League One play-off places, but ultimately Dave Edwards’s second-half goal – scored from an offside position, according to Bowyer – in the replay ended their involvement in this season’s cups.
Now, after a stop-start few weeks, Bowyer wants his players to push on with with their bid to get out of League Two at the first attempt, starting at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park on Saturday. He even hinted they could fill their blank FA Cup second-round weekend with a league match, probably at Colchester United.
“After the game the feeling was disappointment but on reflection against a good League One club and when you look at their results of late, we’ve given a good account of ourselves in the first game especially,” commented manager Bowyer. “In the second game we needed more, we wanted more and we were certainly capable of more.
“If you look at the lads they (Shrewsbury) brought back from international duty, that just showed the compliment and the respect they paid to us.
“If we had been a little bit more clinical, we might have been talking about a victory in both games.”
James Vaughan returned from an ankle injury on Tuesday, but Bowyer felt his team suffered for only having played three times since October 22, once in the lightly-regarded EFL Trophy. Their weekend match at Colchester was called off because of their hosts’s international call-ups.
“Not playing at the weekend probably helped James Vaughan but there were one or two others who looked like they needed that game,” argued Bowyer.
“We’ve had some bitty weeks recently but hopefully now that’s sorted and our focus is where it was at the start of the season, just the league.
“The group that we’ve got has some quality and some spirit and Saturday will be a good game for them to bounce back because at full-time it was a disappointed dressing room.”
When asked about the possibility of another blank weekend a week on Saturday, Bowyer enigmatically replied: “Possibly.”
Coventry City knocked Colchester out of the FA Cup, leaving them free on November 30.