9:20am Tuesday 1st April 2014
By Simon Parker
It has taken more than two years but City have finally won a game without James Hanson.
Before Saturday, you had to go back to February 2012 when a Craig Fagan-inspired team cantered past ten-man Barnet.
Losing such a big player from their plans has usually done for the Bantams, so the victory at Leyton Orient proved a breakthrough moment in more ways than one.
Into the breach stepped the experienced Jon Stead and his convincing debut stopped anyone from mourning the absence of the talismanic targetman.
Aaron Mclean certainly believes that he can strike up a decent understanding with the on-loan Huddersfield striker.
He said: “Steady’s a good player and I knew it wouldn’t be hard to play with him. I’ve known him a little while and he’s a good professional. He’s clever, he uses his body well and his hold-up play is good.
“You can play the ball in to him all different ways and you know he’ll look after it. He’s got good feet for his size and I’m looking forward to playing more games with him.
“Hopefully between us we can get a few goals.”
Mclean’s alert finish in East London has bought City the time to get Hanson fully functional again. They do not need to rush the striker back from his nagging groin and back problems until he is sorted both physically and mentally.
The weekend win also restored the team’s reputation following those forgettable defeats against Shrewsbury and Walsall.
Mclean is keen to keep the foot on the pedal when they hit the road again tonight for Coventry’s temporary base in Northampton.
“Saturday was a massive win for us,” he added. “We had to go out there and right some of the wrongs from the previous two games and we did that.
“We’d had a decent little run but then the last couple of performances we knew weren’t good enough. The manager made that clear.
“It’s always hard playing away from home. You have to dig deep and put the work in. Do that and hopefully the little bits of quality will come through and you get something from the game.”
After City failed to produce one shot on target against Walsall, Mclean welcomed the more attack-minded approach against the O’s.
“We wanted to be more positive. We spoke about going forward more as a team. If we do that, then we’ll create more chances. We did that on Saturday and luckily for me, I managed to get on the end of one.
“We probably had the better chances on Saturday to score more but we got the goal and it gave us something to hang on to.
“The back four and goalkeeper were magnificent. They put their bodies on the line and were the main reason for the three points.
“Now we’ve got to build on that at Coventry. Get another result there and it will put us in a good position for the rest of the season.”
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