AS a veteran of two successful promotion campaigns as a player with Bradford City and one play-off heartache, Stuart McCall knows all about the pressures associated with a run-in.
He also admits that playing during such a pressurised stage in the footballing year is a lot easier than managing, not least because there is far more opportunity to influence things out in the middle.
Nevertheless, McCall is relishing the club’s push for success and the opportunity to bring Championship football back to Valley Parade after a 13-year absence.
“It is a lot easier as a player, 100 per cent,” said the 52-year-old, who helped City to promotion in 1985 and 1999. “You are able to control and influence things on the pitch because you are out there, in the middle of things.
“As a manager, you obviously decide tactics, substitutions and so on. But, once the players step over that white line, there is only so much you can do.
“Having said that, I am loving every minute at the moment. We have a chance to achieve something special and everyone is determined to make that happen.”
Nicky Law (knee) and Alex Jones (dead leg) are rated as 50-50 to return today after injury.
McCall, though, will not rush either man, not least because he needs the duo to be fit for the full run-in – and especially midfield man Law next weekend at fellow promotion contenders Scunthorpe United, when Josh Cullen will be absent on international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s.
Swindon Town’s struggles this season are well documented but Bradford have dropped points at home to four of the bottom eight clubs.
“The key is not to get too carried away by one result,” McCall said when asked what set the City sides of 1985 and 1999 apart. “Those teams were successful because no-one over-reacted, no matter what the result. After drawing at Charlton, I saw a few write us off because others in the top six had won. But there is still a long way to go, and 24 points to fight for.”
As a manager, you obviously decide tactics, substitutions and so on. But, once the players step over that white line, there is only so much you can do.Bradford City manager, Stuart McCall