CITY must show mental strength to pick themselves straight up from the heavy home loss to leaders Newport.

The Bantams have no time to lick their wounds from Saturday’s 3-0 Valley Parade flop as the non-stop schedule sends them to Bolton tomorrow.

They won there on the opening day of the season in the Carabao Cup and Stuart McCall is demanding a similar response.

He said: “It’s a tough one to take when you get beaten 3-0 at home. We got beaten by a really good side, although it doesn’t make an excuse for our poor performance.

“But the lads know the drill when they come in today. They can’t afford to be doom and gloom because that won’t help anyone.

“It’s a mental challenge as much as a physical one for us against Bolton now.

“We’ve got to have a mentality where if you’re selected, then you’ve got to put in a better performance than we did.

“We need to go and get a result and put in a performance like we did there at the start of the season.”

Bryce Hosannah should be okay to return and Reece Staunton is also available. But the game comes too soon for Gareth Evans and Levi Sutton.

McCall held up his hand for getting it wrong against Michael Flynn’s Exiles.

Having accepted that he picked the wrong formation, which he switched at half-time, the City boss may look to take a more pragmatic approach.

He added: “It’s something I’m going to have to look at.

“I’m a manager who tries to go out and win every game but maybe if we’d matched them up it might have been better.

“But with the way they are playing, that’s why I wanted to do something different to try to get the upper hand.

“It didn’t work. We changed it second half and for a period we were okay and then we got sloppy and they were back in the ascendancy.

“I could have made three subs (at half-time) but you’ve got to be careful in case there’s another injury. I could have taken lots of different people off.

“I don’t think we were good in possession. That might be to do with confidence but we need to improve on that massively.

“Flynny is doing an excellent job, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s got lads who have been there two or three years that he trusts.

“They are a strong side but we’ve got to make sure we bounce back and get a little bit of momentum.

“That’s what football is about. Win a couple of games and things look a lot rosier – but we’ve got to go and start doing that.”

It was the biggest home defeat for City since Blackpool won 4-1 at Valley Parade in March 2019 early in Gary Bowyer’s reign.

Flynn said: “It’s never nice but I’ve seen enough quality in that Bradford squad and I know Stuart has got enough qualities. They will be fine.”

The former City skipper admitted it was not the same to be playing in an empty stadium.

“It’s a shame for me personally coming up,” he added. “I always enjoy coming back to Bradford.

“I’m very fond of it and it would have been great if the fans were here. They were very supportive during my time and I can’t speak highly enough of them.”