CITY must prove to the play-off pack they are strong enough to absorb the blow of losing James Hanson, Stuart McCall insisted today.

The Bantams boss is targeting two new attacking faces before the transfer window shuts next Tuesday – and he admits teams around them will be watching closely to see how McCall reacts to the departure of his iconic targetman.

As previously revealed in the T&A, Charlie Wyke of Carlisle is thought to be City's number one target.

McCall will not comment on other clubs' players but it is understood the Bantams are willing to trigger a release clause in the 17-goal striker's contract which is lower than the £400,000 figure that has been mentioned in some reports.

McCall admits it is vital they bolster the attack to show those around them in League One they still mean business.

"Our play-off rivals will be looking at it and thinking 'that's a massive blow for Bradford with Hanson gone'," he said.

"You look at other teams and you want their best players to go. It's a natural reaction.

"I was hoping at the start of the season that Lee Gregory would leave Millwall or Matty Taylor would leave Bristol Rovers.

"How we respond is the key now. We cannot look back. I thought the players reacted well because it was bit of a blow on Friday in the circumstances.

"I don't think James has gone to a rival. Sheffield United, for me, are right up there and we're in that play-off group.

"No finger can be pointed at James. He's going to a terrific club. It might be time for him to move on and good luck to him.

"But we've got to make sure we get two players in to make us stronger. We did good business early on when the window opened. Now we have to finish it strongly. It's a challenge but we've got to be positive."

McCall was disappointed to lose "one of the most effective players in League One" in a deal which the T&A understands could be worth well over £200,000 if the Blades clinch promotion.

He knows the clock is ticking to land suitable replacements but says City cannot afford to fail.

McCall said: "It leaves us a huge gap. Our job now is to make sure we can bring in a couple of players that makes us back to being stronger again.

"It's all right identifying them, which we're trying to and doing like a lot of clubs, but it's then getting deals over the line.

"If we want to cement our place in the play-offs, we've got to get players into the football club. It's as simple as that."

McCall enjoyed a close bond with Hanson after signing him as a professional from Guiseley eight years ago – and he cannot understand those among the City faithful who were critical of the striker.

"Even if James isn't everyone's biggest favourite, you could never question his dedication to the football club," said the Bantams chief.

"I know he's played with injuries this season and wanted to be out there. When somebody goes out there and gives their all for the club, I think it's absolutely embarrassing to criticise that.

"But I know it's a very small minority and I don't really want to talk about them.

"I'm pleased for James because he deserves it. There was nothing offered to him here. He was offered a two-and-a-half year deal by Sheffield United.

"They can blow us out of the water financially and have done with a lot of players – Caolan Lavery, for example. Everyone has got to wish him well."