Stephen Darby is convinced City will emerge from his bleakest period at the club.

The Bantams have gone seven home games without a win since their last Valley Parade victory on September 28.

They have won just once in 14 league games to slip to mid-table, seven points off the play-offs and the drop zone.

But right back Darby, their most consistent performer by far, believes a ten-day wait since their last outing on New Year’s Day has done City a favour.

And despite being hard hit by injuries, he is targeting that elusive win against Bristol City tomorrow to kick-start the second half of their campaign.

Darby said: “The break probably came at the right time. It freshened everyone up and we’ve had a good week’s training under our belts.

“We’ve had a tough time lately but the lads are working really hard. Take Notts County out the equation and every other game we’ve gone right to the end.

“We’re probably not doing a lot different to when we were winning games. Maybe we just need to be a bit more ruthless in defence and attack.

“Obviously we’ve stepped up a level and the little mistakes are getting punished.

“Everyone’s disappointed with the way the results have gone. Over the last 18 months, this is probably the toughest period we have faced.

“We’ve got to keep believing in ourselves, show some character and stick together. If we keep doing the right things, then it will change.

“Win at the weekend and hopefully it will change everything. It could be the catalyst to really push on.”

Darby remains one of three league ever-presents along with keeper Jon McLaughlin and skipper Gary Jones.

But fellow defender James Meredith misses his first game with a broken foot. Carl McHugh is set to deputise at left back.

Darby said: “Everyone’s gutted for Mez. He’s hardly missed a game since his illness last year and been brilliant for us.

“We have got a few injuries but that’s why you have a squad. There’s always someone else ready to come in and take that chance.”

City had a similar barren spell at home last season which lasted nearly three months. But they recovered then and Phil Parkinson insists they will bounce back again.

He said: “There have been circumstances along the way which have detracted from the quality of the team. We’re all frustrated but that’s the life of a football supporter, manager and player.

“Even last year, we had periods when we struggled to get a win and the form wasn’t great. But you don’t run away from it.

“Football is not all plain sailing. You look at the Premier League and the struggles some teams are having at the moment.

“The teams and the managers who keep working for solutions are the ones who end up getting the results back on track and they will do.”

The Bantams boss also urged the crowd to stay with them – and keep the faith.

“Bradford City supporters have been through some tough times and they are more experienced than your average fan at sticking by their club.

“This particular run we’re having is difficult but the only way we’ll get out of it is by the supporters remaining positive.

“They have been magnificent for us in the good times and you’ve got to be magnificent through the bad ones as well.”