Unified Bradford City just one win from salvaging play-off hopes

SHAY McCartan remains bullish over Bradford City's top-six prospects, despite their punishing ten-match winless sequence in League One.

Bradford City's Shay McCartan. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

The tenth-placed Bantams’ last victory arrived back on New Year’s Day, with last season’s play-off finalists having endured a nightmare 2018 thus far.

As it stands, City are six points behind sixth-placed Peterborough United, with a game in hand, with the first fixture in what manager Simon Grayson has labelled a “12-game season” ending in defeat on Wednesday night in a cruel late 1-0 loss to promotion-chasing Wigan.

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It has raised the stakes ahead of Monday night’s televised derby at Doncaster Rovers, when City could be nine points adrift of the play-offs, but McCartan believes there is still plenty of time to transform their campaign.

“Eleven games left and we are still in and about there,” said McCartan, who played up front with winger Alex Gilliead in a makeshift forward line in the absence of suspended Charlie Wyke.

“It does not take much to go on a run. We proved that at the start of the season and the team has not changed.

“We have got to be positive and confident that things will change.”

Specifically on City’s play-off prospects, the former Accrington player said: “I do not see why we can’t make it.

Bradford City's Shay McCartan in action against Wigan.(Picture: Tony Johnson)

“Plymouth have gone on a run from bottom of the table to where they are now. I think we are a better team than Plymouth.

“We are not very confident now, but once we get that first win it will be a relief.

“It is about getting over that first hill – then it is all downhill and will be a lot easier.”

Despite City’s travails since Christmas, McCartan says it has not come at the expense of team unity, resolve and purpose, with that much evident even in a losing cause on Wednesday night when their battling qualities shone through.

Bradford City's Shay McCartan in action against Wigan.(Picture: Tony Johnson)

He added: “We are sticking together. I have been in changing rooms before where the lads are joking about saying we have chucked it now.

“But it is not like that. We have got the right mentality. It is just about getting that first win because the work rate is there from us.

“Monday will be a tough game against Doncaster, but we are looking forward to it.

“It is probably just that bit of composure that is not there at the minute because we have not won. It is going to take a scrappy 1-0 win that is going to be horrible, like Wigan did the other night against us. That is what we need and then it will breed confidence after that.

“The lads remain together, tackles flying in, chasing lost causes.”