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Gary Jones: Keep calm and Bradford City can beat the Millers
Gary Jones is calling for cool heads to help City end their Rotherham jinx on Boxing Day.
While both sides were promoted from League Two last season, the Millers did the double over their Yorkshire rivals – without conceding a goal.
And they followed that up with a 3-0 FA Cup thumping at the New York Stadium last month.
Rotherham have now won the last five meetings between the clubs and City skipper Jones admits it is high time they turned the tables at Valley Parade on Thursday.
The atmosphere will be highly charged and the visitors have sold out their 2,500 ticket allocation. But the experienced midfielder insists the players have to try to block out the emotions.
Jones said: “It’s going to be a great fixture and a big crowd. Everyone knows what’s gone on between us and them.
“They’ve had some good results but hopefully we can get that monkey off our back and beat them at last.
“The key thing is that we don’t get too over-excited. The supporters will be frantic, baying for blood if you like, but it’s up to us to remain cool and calm.”
City have gone three months without a Valley Parade victory. The last was on September 28 when James Hanson snatched a late winner against Shrewsbury.
They have played five times at home since, losing to Tranmere and Wolves before draws with Coventry, Notts County and Leyton Orient.
City have led in only one of them – and ended up going down 2-1 to Wolves.
Jones said: “Home form is vital. Win those games and it takes all the pressure off going away.
“If we can get our home form sorted, I’m sure we can kick on and be where we want to be at the end of the season.
“The performances have generally been good – but scoring first is so important.
“Look at the Notts County and Leyton Orient games, when goals went in against the run of play.
“You feel yourself getting frustrated because nobody sees it coming. It’s out of the blue.
“But we’ve shown we’ve got this desire to keep it going and nine times out of ten we come back and get a result.
“It is deflating when you lose a goal but it’s up to us to try and get in front and build some momentum for our own supporters.”
City cannot afford to let sixth-placed Rotherham extend the five-point gap that currently exists between the sides. Jones also feels the Bantams owe the fans for their meek surrender in the FA Cup seven weeks ago.
He admitted: “That one really hurt. It was a local derby and we never really got going.
“Everyone loves a good cup run, especially us. It does generate some funds as well as you go further into the rounds.
“Supporters pay good money to come and back us and for us not to turn up like that, especially in a derby game, was a massive disappointment.
“The way we played that day let everyone down. But hopefully we can put that right on Boxing Day.”
* Wigan recalled Nouha Dicko from his loan spell at Rotherham with immediate effect yesterday.
The in-form striker, 21, has scored six goals in five appearances for the Millers including a brace in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Wolves.
Latics have struggled to score goals themselves with Grant Holt, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Will Keane, borrowed from Manchester United, struggling for both fitness and form.
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