CALLUM Cooke knows what he needs to do to spare himself another post-match inquest.

The midfielder admits it “kills” him that his hunt for a first City goal goes on.

Cooke has now played 35 times for the club without hitting the net.

It is exactly 50 appearances in all since he was last on the scoresheet in Peterborough’s 4-2 win at Gillingham in September 2018.

Admittedly, the bulk of those outings for the Bantams were in the withdrawn “quarterback” role where he was employed under Gary Bowyer.

But given a more attacking pass now by Stuart McCall, Cooke is itching to break his duck.

“It is getting closer and I am absolutely desperate,” he said. “It kills me after every game when I break it down and analyse myself.

“I think it was against Stevenage when I could have had a hat-trick on another day because I had three good chances.

“I’m trying to repay the faith the gaffer has shown in me by chipping in with the goals and assists.

“I haven’t got off the mark which is frustrating from my point of view but at least I’m getting in those areas. It would be a worry if I wasn’t.

“I just need to keep believing because the manager believes in me.

“Surely something has got to give and hopefully once I get one, it normally works out that you’ll get two or three.”

Cooke missed a big chance within minutes of coming off the bench in City’s only loss of the League Two campaign so far against Harrogate. He was also thwarted by a good save from Mansfield keeper Marek Stech last weekend.

“I don’t beat myself up if I miss a chance because I know I’ll get another one or two in a game,” he added. “But on the flipside, I know that I’ve had some good ones and I’m frustrated not to have taken them.

“As long as I’m making the runs and getting myself into the box, I’m sure the goals will come.”

McCall wanted to release the shackles when he brought back Cooke on a permanent basis in the summer. The Bantams boss felt a more defensive brief had been inhibiting the midfielder’s impact and there was a lot more to come.

A conversation with Cooke confirmed the player’s desire to be let off the leash a bit more and revert to the more attack-minded position where he featured coming up through the youth system at Middlesbrough.

Elliot Watt now has the job of sitting in front of the backline, allowing Cooke that freedom he has been after – although he admits it is taking a bit of getting used to again.

He said: “This season we’ve got Elliot playing that deeper role where you see a lot of the ball because you’re getting it off defenders.

“But I am still adjusting. It’s not like you can switch it on and off and you do need that transition.

“I can remember in one of the pre-season friendlies when I started dropping deeper trying to get on the ball. That was because of my mindset from last year.

“I actually scored in the game but afterwards I knew the gaffer was right (telling me to play further up) and I’ve taken everything on board since then.

“I just need to keep listening to him and learning. It has been a bit different but that’s where I used to play in my academy days so I’m no stranger to the role.”

City will also be looking to strike the opening blow for the first time at Valley Parade this season against Newport. They have fallen behind in each of the previous three home outings.

Cooke said: “We need to hit the ground running. We’ve started a bit sluggish in games and it’s taken us a while to get into our flow."