Jon McLaughlin hopes City’s unexpected weekend off has helped flush the draws out of their system.

The Bantams return to action with a bang against leaders Leyton Orient this afternoon before games against fellow contenders Peterborough, Rotherham and Swindon.

Phil Parkinson’s side have dropped out of the top six after drawing four of their last five outings and McLaughlin believes the break came at a good time.

City’s keeper said: “It’s been nice to have that free week. We could put a line under what’s gone before and build up towards this Christmas period.

“You could see these four games coming up and our preparation can’t have been any better. There can’t be any excuses.

“We had a great start to the season. For a team that had been promoted we were really happy with the first six or seven weeks and where that put us.

“But then the second half of that period hasn’t gone the way we wanted.

“There have been a lot of draws where we’ve gone close. But once they start adding up, it’s a case of two points dropped every game.

“We know the good start has held our position in the table. But we’ve been losing ground, allowing the teams who were behind us to overtake and that’s got to be addressed.”

The hectic holiday period is likely to shake up the table and McLaughlin, one of the five City players to have played every league game, is determined to emerge at the right end by the new year.

“A bad Christmas period and we could easily find ourselves mid-table if we’re not careful,” he warned.

“On the other hand, good results like we’ve had at this time of year recently and we can start the second half in a great position. That would give us the confidence to kick on.”

McLaughlin is currently nine off 100 league appearances – a landmark that has taken him six seasons. He made his debut at Chesterfield in May 2009.

But since Matt Duke left in the summer, he has missed only one game, when Connor Ripley played in the 5-0 JPT thrashing at Hartlepool.

With Ripley’s loan up next month, Parkinson is looking at goalkeeper options and is currently casting an eye over Bournemouth’s out-of-favour Shwan Jalal. But for now, McLaughlin feels he has finally nailed down the senior status.

He said: “Playing at a big club like Bradford, we’ve never had a situation while I’ve been here where there’s just been one goalkeeper who’s the out-and-out experienced man.

“There have been a lot of battles and fights for the position but it’s been enjoyable the whole way through. Now I’m enjoying the fact that I’m managing to play week in, week out.

“It’s always nice to cement that role and feel that you’ve been playing well enough to deserve it and not just there because there’s nobody else to take your place.”