GARY Bowyer insists City’s safety-first policy of holding some players back has paid off, admitting it would have been “crazy and stupid” to have done otherwise.

Callum Cooke, Zeli Ismail and Shay McCartan are all starting to make their mark as the Bantams begin to build some momentum in League Two.

Cooke was restricted to five appearances from the bench before finally making his full debut in the home win over Carlisle.

Ismail and McCartan have also been eased into the campaign after missing chunks of pre-season with injuries.

Their arrival on the scene now highlights the depth of the squad that Bowyer has assembled since relegation – and backed up City’s decision to take their time.

He said: “There is a lot of experience in the building staff-wise.

“From a fitness point of view, you’ve got Ben Rome and the physios Chris (Royston) and Dayle (Avison).

“They’ve been involved in the game and they’ve gone and studied. They’ve done their courses, the badges, the university degrees.

“To not listen to them when the players who have come in have not had the full pre-season would have been absolutely ludicrous.

“To just chuck them in and put them at risk of injury and being out for a length of time would have been crazy and stupid. We didn’t do that.”

Ismail made his first league start last weekend against Swindon – when McCartan came on as a second-half sub to score the winner. Cooke was City's outstanding performer in their best performance.

Bowyer says he had never been tempted to throw any of them into the fray before his staff felt they were ready.

He added: “We have the common sense to know that it is a 46-game league season and the cup comes into that as well – and we’ve said all along that if the draws can be kind to us we’d like a cup run.

“We were never going to take the risk with anyone. It’s been a case of building them up each time.

“You look at (what happened to) poor Jamie Devitt.

“If he’d done his injury at the end of the Bolton game, we might have been looking at ourselves (for keeping him on). But he did it so early on that wasn’t the case.

“We’ve been sensible and used our experience and the expertise we’ve had in the building.”

The City boss says there have been no grumbles within the squad over the patient approach.

“The players understood why we were doing that,” he said.

“Why would you put somebody into a position where they aren’t fit and then ask them to be at their maximum? You’d make them look stupid.”