GARY Bowyer has warned City after their Crawley flop: Don’t let our hard work go to waste.

An eight-match unbeaten run was ended with a dismal display on Saturday as the 2-1 loss dropped the Bantams to sixth spot.

They are still level on points with Cheltenham in the final automatic promotion position but the cushion in the play-off places has been cut to two in a congested pack.

Bowyer was fuming with City’s flat performance against a Crawley side who had won just one of their previous 13 league outings.

It is now three months since the last away victory at Morecambe.

With another free week to work with before Scunthorpe’s visit to Valley Parade, the City boss is determined to avoid any lingering after-effects.

He said: “This is the first defeat in nine and they’ve worked ever so hard to get ourselves in that position.

“We’ve said to them it’s how they react now. This team have generally responded well to setbacks and I’ve no doubt they will do again.”

Bowyer will hope the extra training time will help Eoin Doyle settle back in after his return to City colours ended in frustration.

Doyle had scored a hat-trick for Swindon at Crawley in October but found the going tough making his first appearance for the Bantams since August.

The 23-goal EFL top scorer had one great chance to add to his tally but was foiled by Crawley centre half’s Jamie Sendles-White, who threw himself in the way of an unguarded goal.

Bowyer added: “It was a fantastic piece of defending from the lad.

“That’s the first game that Doyler has been back with us and it’s going to take a little bit of time.

“But playing with two up the top, they are both quality strikers.

“Eoin has been fine. With all the drama that has surrounded it, at the end of the day it’s a game of football.

“That’s what we’re playing and as soon as Saturday came, he was just getting used to being involved again.

"But that’s what he is paid to do.”

Aramide Oteh did pull one back in the closing minutes but it was too late to salvage anything. It was the third game in a row when City’s goal has been scored by a player coming off the bench.

Bowyer said: “For the last 25 minutes, we had four forwards up top. We needed to do that and took the risk.

“Both Remi and Shay provided some spark when they came on. Obviously, Remi got his goal and Shay showed again what he is capable of with the ball at his feet.

“He was running at people and causing problems and put a couple of decent balls in as well.

“I was pleased with the impact of the subs once again.”

But Bowyer, who was missing midfielder Callum Cooke through illness, admits City’s record on their travels must improve in the final 20 games of the season.

“We seemed to give teams a head-start on the road and then we dominate possession. We had 60 per cent possession without hurting them.

“It’s all right passing it sideways and backwards but you’ve got to go forwards. I’m afraid we didn’t do enough of that and it's very disappointing."