Matt Duke insists that beating Plymouth tomorrow is “ten times” more important for City than their dream cup date with Arsenal.

Saturday’s home loss to Exeter – only the second at Valley Parade this season – dropped the Bantams three places to seventh.

But they have an immediate chance to get that out the system against another West Country side and Duke is confident of grabbing it.

While fans are clamouring for tickets for next month’s Capital One Cup quarter-final, the experienced shot-stopper is focused purely on getting three points nearer to promotion.

He said: “I know people are talking about the cups and playing Arsenal but personally Saturday was bigger for me.

“And tomorrow night is going to outweigh Arsenal by ten times because we want to get out of this league. That is the aim.

“But we’re not distracted, nobody’s talking about it round the dressing room. It’s the oldest cliché to take one game at a time but that’s all you can do.”

Exeter veteran Jamie Cureton pounced for his 13th goal of the season but Phil Parkinson was unhappy that Craig Forsyth was out-jumped for the header which set up the solitary close-range strike.

Parkinson said: “We’ve got to win that header on the back stick. Win that and we don’t concede.

“But Exeter looked brighter and sharper than us in the first half. We lacked a spark, a Zavon Hines with that bit of individual skill to go past somebody.

“We changed it at half-time and looked better. We got it going and played with more impetus but just couldn’t get that goal.”

Parkinson will run checks over Hines and James Meredith today but is more optimistic on the pair. Stephen Darby could also be back in consideration after pulling out of training on Friday.

He added: “Mezza and Hines are improving and we’ll have a look at them. Meredith is looking a lot better.

“Stephen was a close call and we brought Tom Naylor in as cover, expecting him to be fit. He did a bit of training but couldn’t quite make it.

“I thought Tom acquitted himself well. It’s always tough when you’ve only trained with your team-mates for an hour.”

City will be in midweek action for the fifth Tuesday running but Duke believes a quick return to Valley Parade can work in their favour.

The keeper said: “The beauty of these games coming thick and fast is that you can get this one out the way and hopefully look forward to three points tomorrow.

“If you win, you want to get straight on with the next game and if you’re beaten, it saves us having to mope about it all week.

“We’ve made it a fortress at home so we’re gutted to lose. But we’re still in a good position and we’ll look to put it right against Plymouth.”