IT REMAINS the game that Matt Kilgallon refuses to look back on.

The view from the substitutes' bench at Wembley was painful enough as City's promotion dream was killed by a late strike from Steve Morison.

The suspicion that the Millwall striker might have been offside rumbles on among fans nearly ten months later.

But there is no point asking Kilgallon whether it would have been a strong case for a retrospective VAR call.

He said: "I've never watched the game again. As soon as we lost, I couldn't watch it back.

"My little lad goes on YouTube and I know he watches it because I can hear him. But even now, I can't look and just want to forget about it.

"Defeat in the final is gutting. You have that time off after and all you think about for the first three weeks is going back to being in League One again.

"You want to be in the Championship. It's a massive league now with the teams in there."

Kilgallon has taken an interest in Millwall's progress as they establish themselves in the next tier. He is also pleased to see James Meredith doing so well after his move.

The Bantams defender said: "Millwall have gone up that extra gear and it's suited to them. Not many Championship teams will like going there and they've worked on that.

"I've seen them a few times and they are actually starting to play some good football as well and have made some good signings. They will be in there next season.

"I speak to Mez on the odd text. He deserves to be in that league. For three seasons at Bradford, he was one of the best players in the team. He put 100 per cent into everything and he's dealing well with the Championship."

But that nagging hurt that still lingers from last May is a spur for Kilgallon as City look towards rediscovering their form for this 12-game charge to the line.

He said: "It's great to be in play-off games and we've been lucky enough to have been in a few of them. I was in the Championship with Leeds and Sheffield United and they are massive games.

"It's great and it would be a real shame if we threw it away. We've been up there for so long. But we need lads to really give everything now for these 12 games.

"There are a lot of teams who will be thinking they can get into the play-offs. Teams can drop out as well. We're not the only ones hoping to sneak in – there are probably four or five around there.

"Because of the start when we were doing so well, we're still in and around it after a bad run, but we need points quickly.

"If we don't work hard and really want it, then we won't get in there because there are too many good teams."

Simon Grayson has changed the training in terms of timings and intensity since succeeding Stuart McCall a month ago. Shorter, sharper sessions are now the order of the day at Apperley Bridge.

A new manager has meant a fresh start for even one of the most senior figures in the dressing room.

Kilgallon admitted there have been a few butterflies as he looks to establish himself again under Grayson.

He said: "Yes of course, it's the same for all of us. The gaffer picks the team and if you're not doing it right in training, you won't be in.

"He's told us that. Don't work hard and you won't play – but it's got to be done. There is no taking it easy for one training session. You've got to be at it to impress him.

"Maybe some before might have had a knock or a tight hamstring and had a rest. You can't do that now. You've got to be out there and train every day.

"It's been hard, sharp and fast but the lads have adapted well to it. It's very intense. He's doing that because he thinks he's going to improve us and hopefully he does."

One area that will struggle to get better is the Valley Parade pitch. After successive call-offs, Kilgallon knows not to take any defensive liberties against Wigan tomorrow.

He said: "It's a shame but it's been like that for a while now. We're not going to think it's suddenly going to be like Wembley because we haven't played there for a few weeks.

"It's all about concentration when the ball comes in to you and really focusing on clearing it and playing in the right areas.

"If the ball's got to go up the pitch, there's no point dilly-dallying or someone can nick it off you."