Jon Stead has been handed the task of spearheading City’s safety bid against Leyton Orient tomorrow.
The Huddersfield striker takes the targetman mantle from the injured James Hanson after signing on loan for the rest of the season.
Phil Parkinson snapped up the 30-year-old an hour before yesterday’s emergency deadline to bolster an attack that has been hit by injury and illness.
City badly lacked a focal point without Hanson against Walsall and his muted display off the bench showed he is not right.
Assistant boss Steve Parkin said: “He’s had his niggly problem switching between his groin and his back for the best part of four or five weeks.
“He’s got through some games but on Tuesday night he wasn’t in the right place mentally.
“When he’s not 100 per cent, which he hasn’t been, we can find that difficult. But we’ve got to overcome that hurdle and move on because he needs a rest.”
Andy Gray is suffering from shingles and youngster Oliver McBurnie is stll recovering from illness. So the onus will be straight on Stead to partner Aaron Mclean at the Matchroom Stadium.
Like Mclean, Stead brings plenty of higher-level experience. He returned to his hometown club in the summer after spells at Blackburn, Sunderland, Sheffield United, Ipswich and Bristol City.
The seventh loan player currently in the squad is also match-fit after a recent month with Oldham.
City, who will again be missing groin victim Nathan Doyle in midfield, needed to bolster numbers at the start of an “eight game mini-league” to secure their League One status.
The Bantams head to east London six points above the drop zone after back-to-back defeats and cannot afford a repeat of the Walsall no-show.
“We need lots of fight now,” said assistant Steve Parkin. “We’ve been in this situation before and we’ve got enough experience to come through it.
“The players feel disappointed because they knew they let everybody down the other night and we’re looking for a reaction.
“The manager let them know afterwards that it wasn’t good enough. But there have not been many times at Valley Parade over the last couple of years when that’s been the case.
“There’s still no excuse for that but those kind of performances have been very few and far between.
“We have to well and truly put that disappointment behind us. I’m not sure that was the case after Shrewsbury so we can’t let that happen again at the weekend.”
Leyton Orient’s promotion chase has gone off the boil with only one win from their last five games. They were also booed off on Tuesday after a 1-1 draw with Oldham.
Russell Slade has goalkeeping issues after Eldin Jakupovic was recalled by Hull to cover Allan McGregor’s red card and injury.
Jamie Jones has only just returned to the bench following a hairline fracture in his back and Slade had suggested last week that it would be too soon for him to play.
The home side have signed rookie midfielder John Lundstram on a month’s loan from Everton. The 20-year-old England youth international could make his debut as Romain Vincelot is suspended and his replacement Marvin Bartley injured a hamstring in midweek.
Parkin said: “Orient are still a good team – they wouldn’t be up there otherwise. But there must be a tinge of disappointment that they’ve dropped off from the incredible high standards they have set.
“Is it a good time to play them? That will only be determined by our performance. If there is any hint of hesitancy in them then we’ve got to make sure we play on that.”
Having sat in the top two for so long, the O’s are now two points behind Brentford in third but have played two more matches.
Slade was furious with the reaction from the home fans in midweek and accused them of not getting behind the team.
He said: “It’s a joke. Some people are criticising me and saying that we’ve given up.
“As a manager I’ve not given up – this team has not given up. I’m frustrated for the players.”