McCALL’S CHARGE HAS HEAD OF STEAM

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Steven Chicken

STU­ART McCall has called on Brad­ford to carry their ex­cel­lent form into Mon­day’s trip to Bra­mall Lane to take on ta­ble-top­ping Sh­effield United af­ter see­ing off Ox­ford.

The Ban­tams have been in great shape as they head to­wards their play-off cam­paign, win­ning six of their last eight games and elim­i­nat­ing the too-fre­quent draws that have cost them a shot at au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

One such game was a thrilling 3-3 draw with Sh­ef­fu­eld United in Oc­to­ber, and McCall is hop­ing his side will go one bet­ter at Bra­mall Lane.

The Ban­tams boss said: “You don’t like look­ing back but it’s just a shame that we didn’t have that habit ear­lier on in the sea­son, when we were play­ing re­ally, re­ally well but get­ting points.

“Now we’re play­ing fine and they’re tight games, but we’re get­ting three points.

“That’s four home games on the bounce that we’ve won. Again, I’m not one for look­ing back but there’s a lot of points we’ve let slip by draw­ing too many games.

“But we’re in good form, cer­tainly re­sults wise, and have a third clean sheet on the bounce.

“We know we go to a re­ally dif­fi­cult venue on Mon­day, but if you’re in foot­ball to en­joy it, you’ve got to be look­ing for­ward to Mon­day at Bra­mall Lane.“

Brad­ford striker Jordy Hi­wula was given a cou­ple of re­ally good op­por­tu­ni­ties for City, but he was un­able to do any­thing with ei­ther of Char­lie Wyke’s two ex­cel­lent first-half through balls. Both Char­lie Raglan and John Lund­stram threat­ened to put Brad­ford’s home un­beaten run at risk of end­ing at 28 games, with both putting de­cent chances wide of the post for Ox­ford.

City gave them­selves breath­ing space as they looked to keep that record go­ing, with Nicky Law pok­ing in Wyke’s knock­down off a pin­point cross from Mark Mar­shall, who was fan­tas­tic through­out both on and off the ball.

Tony McMa­hon had to be alert two min­utes later as Joe Roth­well threat­ened to go clear through on goal, get­ting back su­perbly to block the winger’s shot.

Wyke’s vol­ley tested Si­mon East­wood at the other end, and the goal­keep­ing ex­hi­bi­tion con­tin­ued as Colin Doyle made two won­der­ful stops to deny Ox­ford striker Conor McAleny late on.

Ox­ford man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton said: “I think it’s been, as daft as it sounds, a per­fect away per­for­mance. I thought we con­trolled long pe­ri­ods of the game.

“We move on and we move on pretty quickly. I think the play­ers are at that stage now where there’s a re­al­i­sa­tion of what we’ve got to do be­tween now and the end of the sea­son, be­ing pro­fes­sional.

“Other sides will be fight­ing like their lives de­pend on it for points and peo­ple will be ex­pect­ing us to make sure we put in per­for­mances like we have done here. As long as we do that, we’ll be happy.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports/ Mark Pol­litt

PUT IT THERE: Nicky Law cel­e­brates scor­ing for Brad­ford. INSET: Ox­ford United’s Conor McAleny shoots STAR MAN MARK MAR­SHALL Brad­ford

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