Mark Hughes says Bradford City 'in a great place' after dramatic victory over Northampton Town

Mark Hughes says Bradford City players are in "a great place" going into a potentially-decisive final week of the League Two season.

Hughes saw his team clinch a 2-1 victory at Northampton Town to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive, although even if they do their job at home to Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday, they will still need favours on the final day.

It was a performance of character which delighted their manager, even if he was reluctant to go overboard in his praise for the man most responsible for it, goalkeeper Harry Lewis.

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The Cobblers will be wondering how they lost after having twice as many shots, twice as many on target and nearly twice as much of the ball.

Although it was Romoney Crichlow who scored the winner in the fifth added minute, the answer was arguably Lewis, who pulled off a string of important saves, and getting the luck he deserved when Sam Hoskins's shot bounced up and on to the crossbar.

That Bradford withstood that barrage and were still determined to win when Richie Smallwood stood over a late free-kick spoke volumes.

"We showed fantastic resilience and character and kept on going right to the end," said manager Hughes. "Richie's delivery was excellent all day, I thought, Bansky (Scott Banks)'s delivery as well.

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"Not many teams are able to score set plays against this Northampton team who are excellent at it themselves as we found in that second half.

PROUD: Bradford City manager Mark Hughes praised his side's resilience against Northampton TownPROUD: Bradford City manager Mark Hughes praised his side's resilience against Northampton Town
PROUD: Bradford City manager Mark Hughes praised his side's resilience against Northampton Town

"In the first half I was happy with what we produced in terms of good play and dictating to Northampton. In the second half they went more direct in terms of balls coming into our box, balls get recycled and put into space. We had to face that.

"Overall I always felt there was going to be one more chance for us. It came late but thankfully we were able to dispach that and they were great scenes at the end.

"We're just in a great place at the moment, we've just got to try and win the last two games and see where it takes us.

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"We're fighting. That's all we can do. We've got two games to go – can we get six points and see where it takes us.

"It wasn't pretty at times. Northampton will always test you. They put the ball into areas and turn you around, they constantly recycle the ball and you've got to withstand it.

"I think it's an excellent result and a fantastic performance."

Bradford took the lead with their first decent effort of the game, Andy Cook heading in a Banks corner after half an hour. It was the striker's 30th goal of the season and 50th for the club. But Max Dyche, son of Sean, cancelled it out in the second half.

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Just as importantly as Cook's goal, he headed Smallwood's free-kick across for Crichlow to touch in at the far post.

"We've got two games to go so who knows where he'll end up," former striker Hughes said of his top scorer. "He's getting assists as well, which is fantastic, that's what we need from our strikers as well – they've got to link the play and be a big part of what we're doing and that's what he's done all year."

His verdict on the outstanding Lewis was rather harsh, perhaps to keep the young goalkeeper's feet on the ground.

"They were saves I expected him to make because he's an exceptional goalkeeper," said Hughes. "If the opposition can get strikes off or balls in the box they've still got to get past him.

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"He's there to save those moments and that's what he's done, he's done his job."

Centre-back Crichlow – who is on loan from Huddersfield Town – had received a death threat in midweek after his error led to Gillingham's stoppage-time equaliser in midweek.

"He said he owed me one, he didn't really but it's just one of those things that can happen in football," reflected Hughes. "You make a wrong decision and you get punished, which is what unfortunately happened last week.

"But he showed character like everyone did and bounced back from it and played a part with the goal at the end."

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Bradford are one of three teams level on 75 points in the play-off places, but have a game in hand on all the promotion contenders.

Win that, and they will be two points behind Northampton, who have dropped to third.

Bradford host Leyton Orient on the final day of the season, when the Cobblers are at Tranmere Rovers.

The Bantams have a three-point cushion to eighth-placed Mansfield Town – who lost to Harrogate Town – and a superior goal difference.