Steve Parkin saluted City for a classic away display as they eased fears of being sucked into the relegation dogfight by beating Colchester.

The Bantams claimed their first win on the road since November as goals from James Hanson, who passed a late fitness test, and Kyle Bennett saw off Phil Parkinson’s old club.

The victory over a side who had been only two points behind lifted them back into the top half of League One – and assistant boss Parkin felt the scoreline should have been more emphatic.

He said: “It was a thoroughly professional away performance. There were a lot of good things defensively and a lot of great things attacking-wise.

“Maybe we could have done with a few more goals but the way we broke and passed it round on a tricky pitch was very pleasing.

“We’ve not always seen that over the last few weeks so that’s why it’s given us a lot of delight. We know it’s in there but confidence is a big thing.”

Aaron Mclean looked a threat but is still to break his goal duck after ten games. He had several chances last night, including one great opportunity set up by Bennett just before half-time.

“We’re confident that Aaron will score goals,” added Parkin.

“The one thing we were worried about is that he’s not had a lot of football and sometimes it’s very difficult to catch that up.

“But he is working tremendously hard to do that. He worked his socks off and just could have done with a goal.

“He probably should have had one but that will come. He looks like he is getting fitter and sharper and getting on the end of things, which he didn’t when he first arrived.

“I’m sure him and Hanson will be a real threat.”

After losing at Brentford on Saturday, City took the decision to go down to Essex the day before. Parkin felt the benefits of travelling early and staying overnight made a big difference.

“No players go out there and deliberately play poorly or don’t give a lot of effort. There were a lot of tired legs after Saturday and it was a case of trying to pick them up.

"We could have driven down for five hours on the day of the game or got them into a hotel and monitored everything properly.

“There are a lot of new players and we’re trying to build that team spirit – and there was an abundance of that in our performance.”

City are now eight points ahead of the bottom four as they prepare for Saturday’s visit from Gillingham and a Valley Parade reunion with Peter Taylor.

Parkin said: “It was a case of putting some distance between us and Colchester and now we can start looking at clawing back a few teams above us.

“Gillingham are doing really well at the moment but if you look at the span of five matches, we’ve won three and should have beaten Stevenage after being in front twice.

“We’ve got Andrew Davies and Hans back in the team and it was great to see him get that goal because he’s been struggling with his groin.

“The fans were terrific and we need them. When VP’s full and rocking, it puts an extra yard on the players’ distances and adds to their confidence.

“Saturday will be good. I know Peter, he’s a good fella and he’s got an appetite and that burning ambition to keep going like we all have.”