Carlisle United v Bradford City - Bantams warned not to become complacent

Paudie O’Connor has warned his Bradford City team-mates they can drop down the League Two table as quickly as they have shot up it if they let up on the hard work which has put them in sight of the play-offs.

Bradford managers Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars. Picture: Simon Hulme

If any of them are sceptical, they need only look at today’s hosts Carlisle United.

At the end of January the Cumbrians were second in League Two, 15 places and 11 points above the Bantams. Today they are three points and a place behind.

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Relegation candidates when joint managers Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars took over in mid-December, City are 12th but winning their two games in hand would put them a point behind Bolton Wanderers, in the final play-off position.

It is important they do not let Tuesday’s very late defeat to Newport County set them back. A penalty in the seventh added minute saw Bradford lose a game they felt they were the better side in, denting but far from ending their promotion hopes.

“Look at the league table and there’s probably only just double figures in it between first and 10th (it is 11 points from Cheltenham Town to Harrogate Town),” said the defender.

“If you can do what we did in February and put four or five wins together back to back, you can jump halfway up there. But as we know, it can also go the other way so it’s up to us to keep our performances where they have been.

“Tuesday was very tough to take, but it is about picking ourselves up after the game, now.

“We have been focused on bouncing back, because it is important we put Tuesday’s game behind us like we did the Exeter City defeat (their only other loss under Trueman and Sellars).”

More than anything, the stand-in captain believes effort will be decisive.

“Our hard work and desire off the ball will again be the most important thing, as this is the foundation we have set ourselves over the past few months,” argued the 23-year-old.

“That is where our goal (scored by centre-forward Andy Cook) came from on Tuesday, and we had another good chance through winning the ball high up the field. 

“We know it might not always be a killer pass which unlocks the door, and we have to do all we can off the ball to try and create opportunities. 

“The pressing and the hard work is what we form our play on, so that is what we need to keep at the centre of what we do going into this weekend’s game, keep that going.”

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