GARY Bowyer suffered his first defeat at the City helm as the Bantams went down 1-0 at home to leaders Luton Town.

T&A chief sports writer Simon Parker looks at what we learned from the Valley Parade loss ahead of another crucial weekend.


City’s chances of beating relegation will not be decided by narrow defeats against the leaders.

Luton have proved they are the best team in League One and it’s easy to see why. They score goals, don’t concede and have a deep squad of talent.

City’s survival instincts will be based on taking points off the teams around them, starting with the weekend’s critical trip to Oxford. A result there against another side currently in the drop zone will have more impact on the relegation picture.


Gary Bowyer is showing he is no respecter of reputations after benching Jack Payne for his first two games in charge.

The call raised eyebrows among City fans, although the playmaker’s form in recent weeks has not hit the heights of the middle of the season.

Payne has not really performed against the division’s biggest boys when he’s played. But he has been a major influence when facing the teams around City.

Given a breather by being left out, he will be fit and fresh and itching to play a part against Oxford.


Nobody expected to see Josh Wright’s name on a City team sheet again after David Hopkin bombed him from his plans before Christmas.

But the former skipper was back among the subs on Tuesday night to back up Gary Bowyer’s promise of a “clean slate”.

Wright’s presence was obviously down to the injuries currently restricting numbers but was also clearly an olive branch from his new boss.

Better to keep everyone part of it for the critical run-in to the season than risk alienating some players and have that frustration build around the training ground.


How City could do with an extra yard of speed to get in behind defences or run at the full backs.

The Bantams knocked the ball around well in very testing conditions and got into promising positions.

But for all the huffing and puffing, they could not break through the second tightest defence in the league.

Pace can unsettle the best back fours and it’s been a common gripe for a while that City just don’t have that.

City did not crumble after going behind and gave it a go – but equally Luton keeper James Shea was hardly troubled.


Eoin Doyle looks happier with the support of someone playing alongside him up front.

The Irishman put in another energetic shift on Tuesday, even if he found opportunities strictly limited against a well-drilled Luton back four.

But playing David Ball up there ensures Doyle does not become the isolated figure which we saw for much of the season and they seem to be developing a decent understanding.

City are in a position now where they must go for the win every time and having a dual strike-force is a positive step towards that. They have to play on the front foot.