Rory McArdle reckons Aaron Mclean has turned horrible again – and that should spell good news for the rest of City’s season.

The Bantams moved to the brink of League One safety with Saturday’s surprise win at third-placed Leyton Orient.

They stretched the advantage over the final relegation spot to eight points as Mclean made a scoring return to his first pro club.

It was only his second City goal in 14 appearances but McArdle saw promising signs that the bustling forward is rediscovering his trademark form.

He said: “You want your strikers scoring goals and I thought Azza was brilliant. He’s back to what he’s all about.

“He was sat in the dressing room afterwards with a cut head covered in Vaseline and blood.

“But that’s him. He’s like a rash to defenders, he’s all over you – he’s horrible to play against.

“That’s why I was so pleased for him to get his goal. We know if we create chances he will stick them away.”

City bounced back from the back-to-back losses against Shrewsbury and Walsall to muzzle the side who had started the day as League One’s leading scorers.

McArdle added: “The last two performances have been way below par from what everyone expects. But training was all about putting those to bed and getting a reaction.

“Nobody likes getting beaten and the manner was awful but it happens in football and everyone’s been there – it’s what you do next that counts.

“It probably suited us going somewhere away from home where people thought we’d get beaten.

“We know we can play like that. Our shape was good, we defended well and we still created chances.”

Phil Parkinson had to watch the second half from the directors’ box after being sent off by referee David Phillips.

He protested his innocence after a fracas in the tunnel with Leyton Orient number two Kevin Nugent. Home tempers were running high after Phillips blew for half-time a split second before Andrew Davies handled in the penalty area.

Parkinson said: “Kevin Nugent had a go at me for appealing every decision. I felt their strikers were drawing fouls and I told him to shut up in no uncertain terms.

“As I walked down the tunnel, he lunged at me when I had my back to him.

“The lads from both teams jumped in and separated it and the ref sent us off. The fourth official said I’d pushed Kev on the side of the pitch but obviously I hadn’t done that.

“I’ve known Kev for a long time and he’s a good lad. But it was uncalled for.

“We had words on the side of the pitch but you go to your separate dressing rooms and that’s it.”

Parkinson handed a debut to Huddersfield targetman Jon Stead and was delighted with his latest loan signing.

“Jon’s a different type of player to James Hanson and I don’t want our supporters to think they are the same. He has more of an all-round game. He keeps the ball up there and makes some really intelligent runs.

“It’s always good to get a character around the place and I’ve been impressed by how quickly he has settled in with the lads.”

But left back Adam Drury is out of tomorrow’s game against Coventry with a strained medial ligament.