TIMOTHEE Dieng wants City to smile through the rest of a troubled season.

The Bantams face play-off chasers Portsmouth at Valley Parade tomorrow as they look to build on their home improvements.

Thursday’s goalless draw with Shrewsbury answered some of the criticism from the thrashing at Blackpool. It also made it back-to-back clean sheets on their own patch.

Dieng felt the fans appreciated the effort on show against the third-placed side and intends to deliver more of the same against another opponent going well.

He said: “We have to be on the front foot and give it a go and we'll see what happens.

"We need to treat every game now like it is a final and give our best. It should not make any difference who we are playing.

“We are going to have to put in a big effort once again to hopefully have a good result against them.

“The confidence is much better and there are more smiles and jokes in the dressing room. It feels good.”

Midfielder Dieng was one of five changes that Simon Grayson made for the Shrewsbury game in response to last weekend’s 5-0 embarrassment at Bloomfield Road.

The Valley Parade crowd was predictably well down but the Frenchman appreciated the backing City received – and hopes they can get more of the same in the closing weeks.

He added: “As long as we put in a shift in and work hard, the fans will be behind us. I thank them for that.

“We had to show everybody that last Saturday’s result was not like us and I think we did. We showed more desire and showed the fans that it matters for us.

“After the performance against Blackpool, we could have expected some bad reactions.

“But from the start, they were behind us and they have been fantastic. We thanked them on the pitch and it was a big boost for us.

“In these six games now, we must do our best, work for each other and we will see where it goes.

“We can’t use the pitch as an excuse. Last year it was no better and we didn’t lose a game at home.”