Bradford City manager McCall seeking lift after draining deadline day

STUART McCALL admits to feeling under pressure as Bradford City manager following a horrendous start to the year.
Bradford City manager Stuart McCall (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).Bradford City manager Stuart McCall (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
Bradford City manager Stuart McCall (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).

The Bantams head to Oldham Athletic tomorrow on the back of a five-game losing run.

“I do feel under pressure,” said McCall to The Yorkshire Post. “This is a results-based industry and our results have put us all under pressure.

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“We had an 18-month progression, but then January was a bad month, on and off the field. Funnily enough, though, I mentioned this to the lads the other day. At Motherwell, we lost four in a row just before Christmas one year.

“We went to Ross County next, were awful and yet won 2-1. Two shots on goal from 30 yards and both took a wicked deflection. It was as poor as we had been all season, but, by winning, we turned everything around and went on to win the next five on the bounce.

“I won manager of the month for January that year, unlike this year when I was probably the worst manager of the month for January.

“The following season, I was managing in the Champions League. That is how quickly things can change. I see Oldham as a chance to find the solution to what has been a difficult run.”

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City will head to Boundary Park buoyed by the return of Tony McMahon after a month out, plus new signings Stephen Warnock and Matty Lund.

McCall had also hoped to have Kristian Dennis, the Chesterfield striker, in his squad after a £125,000 offer was accepted only for the deal to collapse late on deadline day due to the League Two club being unable to sign a replacement.

“Wednesday was the first time I have really been involved on the last day of a window,” said McCall, who believes his squad is “stronger” than the one that started 2018 thanks to a late influx of new faces.

“I was in from 10am to 10pm and the day was a total rollercoaster. If you had asked me at noon, I’d honestly have said we will get three or four deals done, incomings and outgoings. But, in the end, there were none.

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“The call that the Dennis deal was on came in the morning. We spoke to his agent, finalised the deal. We then got him across for the medical (in Manchester) at lunchtime, meaning by the time he got back to Valley Parade it was 5pm.

“But, just as he came through the door, we found out Chesterfield hadn’t signed the paperwork yet. I really felt for the lad. His head was whirring and he was still here until 9pm.

“After that, we were speaking to other managers. We got another green light on a forward from the Championship, but, lo and behold, then another club came in to take a different striker from the same club. His manager then couldn’t afford to let out the one we wanted.

“At that stage, we had one (player) going out to allow him to play games. But the plug had to be pulled on that at 9.30pm.”

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One big plus amid the chaos of deadline day was Charlie Wyke, who had been linked with several Championship clubs, still being at City come the 11pm deadline.

McCall, though, admits to being slightly concerned once Preston, a known admirer of Wyke, sold Jordan Hugil to West Ham United for £8m.

He added: “I was thinking, ‘There hasn’t been a sniff all month, but if someone came in now at 8pm, it will be totally wrong’.

“Depending on the money, the club might have had to accept it. There was no decision to make, in the end, as no bid came in. But that is how draining it can be.”