WHEN it comes to City’s growing attacking threat, size isn’t everything.

Their tally of 35 shots in the FA Cup replay, 13 of them on target, marked a phenomenal turn-around for a team that were struggling to trouble keepers earlier in the season.

The glass half-empty brigade will highlight the seven goals conceded in the last two games – an area David Hopkin will certainly aim to address for tomorrow’s home clash with Walsall.

But scoring seven themselves against Plymouth and Peterborough and creating so much shows the surge in confidence going forward.

Hope Akpan can see the growing influence of the three midfield musketeers in front of him, David Ball and his diminutive partners Jack Payne and Lewis O’Brien.

“Anyone who has watched us can see that we’re a threat,” he said. “It’s clicking for us going forward now.

“Payney and Bally are playing clever balls and we’re getting in and creating chances.

“They are always on the front foot. They may be small but they make things happen.

“They have got good touches and they are always looking to go forward and attack. They are exciting players and it’s good to have in the team.”

After recovering from his recent groin injury, Akpan has the job of trying to tidy up behind them. Tuesday was his first start for a month as he aims to push on from a disjointed season.

He added: “I’ve had a few setbacks. I obviously came back after quite a long lay-off and played four games in two weeks.

“My body was just screaming at me. Maybe it would have been better to ease it in.

“But with the situation we were in, we were obviously lacking numbers and I just thought I’d give it a go to help the team.

“After three weeks out now, I feel great and I’m ready to go.”

With his defensive head on, Akpan has been as disappointed as anyone by the goals City have leaked this week. Dealing with crosses much better is high on his agenda for the team.

But he can sense more of a backbone about the side now as Hopkin begins to get his message across. Fitness levels continue to improve.

Akpan said: “I think the gaffer has instilled a bit more toughness in us. We’re a lot more aggressive in pressing and there’s much more energy.

“It’s hard in training, working on our fitness and on repeated efforts. But I think it is showing and the lads do feel it.

“It would have been a great result if we’d hung on the other night at 4-3. It was a shame we didn’t.

“But the fans who were there really pushed us on and if we can take that into the weekend, we can definitely get a result.”

Akpan appreciated the atmosphere generated by a home crowd of just 3,468 in midweek. An audience at least four times that for Walsall’s visit will be firmly onside as City look to clamber off the bottom of League One before Christmas.

“You can definitely feel the crowd are behind us,” said Akpan. “We’re thankful to the fans for sticking with us.

“We’re going to need them as much as we need every single player.

“If anyone has actually watched us in the last month or two, they’ll see we’ve been a lot better.

“We’ve been unlucky on some occasions not to get better results, like against Portsmouth and in the Plymouth game last week.

“If we can start turning performances into more points, then we can get out of trouble. That’s what everyone is working exceptionally hard to try to do.”