Bradford City v Bury: Bantams must cure old trait and find some finishing power – Stuart McCall

Bradford City are hoping to extend Josh Cullen:'s loan spell from West Ham United.
Bradford City are hoping to extend Josh Cullen:'s loan spell from West Ham United.
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A QUICK glance at Bradford City’s ‘goals for’ column says a lot about why manager Stuart McCall’s over-riding feeling at the halfway stage is one of frustration.

The Bantams have netted 28 times in 23 league outings this season, a tally that is inferior to every other side in the top 11 of League One.

It is a trait City had last season under Phil Parkinson – their 55 goals in 46 games was again the lowest of any club in the top 11 despite qualifying for the play-offs.

What is perhaps different this time around is the number of chances Bradford are creating and failing to take, and McCall admits this has to change.

“It all boils down to us not scoring enough goals,” said McCall, whose side have taken six points from their last half-dozen outings. “We all know that.

“We had a six-hour meeting with the chairman (Edin Rahic), Greg (Abbott, chief scout) and James Mason (chief operating officer) and discussed all aspects of how we can be better, how we can improve. We don’t stand still.

“We are not slapping ourselves on the back because we are in a better position than most people thought. That is not how we work here. We want to improve.”

City, who hope to extend Josh Cullen’s stay on loan from West Ham United at Valley Parade once the transfer window opens, sign off 2016 with a visit from a Bury side that had lost 12 consecutive games before drawing against Fleetwood Town on Boxing Day.

After back-to-back goalless draws on home soil, Bradford need all three points.

Billy Clarke is again missing as McCall calls on his players to rediscover the clinical edge that saw 10 goals scored in just three games against Sheffield United, AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale in late October and early November.

“I have been really pleased with a lot of stuff over the first half of the season,” said the Bantams’ manager, whose side are fifth.

“For me, working with the players has been great. The crowds at home and away have been great.

“But the bottom line is the frustration will always be there because in the majority of games we have been the dominant side and created lots of opportunities.

“The worry comes when you don’t create those opportunities, but we need to kill off teams to make us a better side.”