JAMES Hanson aims to show City today that he is the man to head their response to a first loss of the season.

Hanson missed the weekend defeat at Oxford to concentrate on getting himself fully up to speed following the calf issues that have plagued him over the last couple of months.

While the Bantams were going down to a stoppage-time free-kick from Chris Maguire, Hanson was being put through his solo paces at the training ground.

He is set to be rewarded for that with a starting role against Southend at Valley Parade tomorrow night.

Bantams boss Stuart McCall said: "The decision not to take James (to Oxford) was made for his sake.

"He wasn't ready to start and it's no good us being selfish and bringing him down just for the chance of throwing him on for the last 15 minutes.

"Instead he's had two hard sessions back at the club, which he needed. He got a load of work in training on Friday and Saturday.

"He's ready now. He'll be training 100 per cent with us this morning and the last couple of days will have done him the world of good because he's got a real work ethic."

McCall is ready to make changes after the frustration of seeing City's 12-game unbeaten start ended at the Kassam Stadium.

James Meredith is likely to miss out after suffering a shin injury when his studs caught in the turf. Matt Kilgallon came off the bench to replace him and will slot in for his first league start against the Shrimpers.

McCall said: "Killa played his last eight games for Blackburn all at left back, so he can do that. We brought him in to cover left back and left centre back.

"He did fine when he came on, so there's no worries with that.

"We're assessing Mez because we're not really sure what the injury is. He just twisted and it's down the side of his shin."

McCall admitted City were not clinical enough and paid the price against an Oxford side he had warned would be as tough as any they had faced.

Billy Clarke missed a first-half penalty and Jordy Hiwula was guilty of wasting two gilt-edged openings.

McCall said: "We had good opportunities to score – the penalty kick and the chances for Jordy. We played some good stuff, it was just that last bit that let us down.

"I think Jordy thought he was offside with the first one and just snatched at it. He could have brought the ball down and put it away.

"The second one was a great chance and Jordy has got to score. But when we were in the 18-yard box, we didn't show the quality we've got.

"It was always going to be difficult. It was a tight game and we certainly didn't deserve to be going back up the road without something.

"The dressing room was naturally disappointed but it's about how we react to it now. It's a horrible feeling and I'm glad we've only had it the once."

* FORMER City head of youth development Peter Horne has died at the age of 52 after a short illness.