STUART MCCALL believes Bradford City’s promotion credentials will face the ultimate test over the next few days with back-to-back games on the road.
The Bantams head to League One leaders Peterborough United today, before a trip to Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium – a venue where the Yorkshire club suffered two defeats last term along with a hugely frustrating postponement just minutes before the scheduled kick-off – awaits on Tuesday night.
It is a tough schedule but one that Bradford will tackle on the back of their most complete performance of the campaign when Bristol Rovers were dispatched 3-1 at Valley Parade in front of the live Sky cameras.
“After the Gillingham game (when City won 1-0 on the second weekend of the season), we were saying most of the players put in six out of 10 performances,” said the former Scotland international.
“Last week, though, was more like sevens and eights, which is what you want. The win over Bristol Rovers was huge because we are going into two really difficult away games now. You won’t have any harder games than Peterborough and Oxford away together.”
City’s trip to London Road in the league a little over a year ago brought the first of 21 victories that took the club agonisingly close to promotion.
Only defeat to Millwall in the play-off final denied Bradford a return to the second tier after 13 years away but hopes are high that this time around McCall’s side can go one better.
Central to those attempts is Charlie Wyke, who netted a hat-trick against Bristol Rovers to get his own goal-scoring for the season under way in style.
Having suffered a calf injury during pre-season, the Middlesbrough-born striker missed the opening couple of weeks and McCall admits that his absence was keenly felt.
“We missed a focal point,” added the Bantams chief. “We like to get balls in, we like to play an out-and-out winger.
“Charlie being back means we have got someone who can head the ball. All the other strikers are quick but not really great from crosses so we don’t just want to lump the ball in against two big defenders.
“Charlie’s presence helps us in there. We don’t want it bouncing back to us. Playing with your back to goal is not the strength for a few of the lads.”