Goals will come, insists Bradford City chief David Hopkin after Trophy exit at Barnsley

BRADFORD CITY manager David Hopkin admits that the club's search to improve their squad depth with some quality free agents is proving a touch problematic.

David Hopkin: Saw positive signs at Oakwell. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Without the services of a number of players due to injury, the Bantams are scouring the free-agent market to boost their options in a bid to engineer a transformation in the club’s stricken fortunes.

City produced a game display in bowing out of the Checkatrade Trophy at Barnsley on Tuesday evening, but paid the price for a lack of cutting edge en route to a 2-1 defeat which extended their winless streak in all competitions to nine matches.

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On his ongoing quest to bring in newcomers, Hopkin, whose bottom-placed side return to League One action with a tough trip to third-placed Peterborough United on Saturday, said: “It is frustrating because you get some free agents in certain positions that we do not really need just now.

“The ones you do want, some of them have been on massive money and are looking for that bit extra.

“It is difficult, but we just keep looking. Hopefully, we will get one or two in.

“But it is nearly mid-November now and a lot of players that you may be able to get have not played since May.”

Despite City’s latest setback, the Scot’s glass remains very much half-full and he professed to being enthused by his side’s creation levels, spirit and desire at Oakwell – key ingredients in any concerted fightback – if not by their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.

But he insists that he would be significantly more worried if the Bantams were not carving out opportunities.

Hopkin, whose side also created a number of chances in their weekend FA Cup draw at Aldershot, said: “People who watch us now do know we are creating a lot. It is just getting that final clinical touch.

“We got the all-important first goal and should have kicked on and won the game (at Barnsley).

“I keep saying the same things. If Barnsley had created 17 chances, we would have probably ended up getting beaten 4-0 or 5-0.

“We cannot keep creating the amount of chances we have been and not scoring goals. The law of averages says we must start scoring at some stage.

“We are tight at the back and we are creating chances. We have just got to make sure we are a wee bit more clinical.

“Hopefully, come January time, we can add a few players to add a bit more strength.”

Barnsley head coach Daniel Stendel spoke of his side’s ‘very enjoyable’ performance on a night which saw youngsters Will Smith and Jordan Helliwell make their debuts from the bench.

One downside saw Adam Jackson dismissed for a second bookable offence, while the Reds are sweating over the fitness of goalkeeper Jack Walton, who was limping towards the end of the game after coming off second-best in a challenge.

Stendel, due to be without first-choice custodian Adam Davies for Saturday’s League One trip to Accrington due to international commitments with Wales, said: “George (Moncur) scored two times, but all the players did well. Ben Williams played at centre-half and also there was Adam Jackson, who played very well and Jack Walton after being injured for three weeks and training one day.

“He was strong and we hope he is not injured after the last situation. I think it was a very enjoyable performance from my team and I am very proud. It was a formation we have not played before and a lot of young players played well. We deserved to win.”

The German, who switched his entire starting line-up as the Reds extended their unbeaten Oakwell sequence to 15 matches in all competitions, added: “We have a lot of options for the first 11 and new power for the games in the league.”

Barnsley will discover their next Trophy opponents tomorrow, with the draw taking place on talkSPORT2 at 1pm.