CITY intend to bring their “A” game to ambitious Salford tomorrow – and not repeat the “F” from last season.

Stuart McCall’s men put their improving form to the test against the club heavily tipped for League Two promotion.

A dismal defeat at the Peninsula Stadium in March was an early low point for Stuart McCall in what turned out to be the final game before the campaign was shut down.

Assistant boss Kenny Black expects a more formidable resistance when they go back looking to build on last week’s encouraging draw against Exeter.

“Last season’s game was frustrating with a capital F,” he said. “It was a really disappointing day for us.

“We need to take part in the game a lot more than we did last season. We need to compete and I certainly think we’ve got the squad to do that.”

Callum Cooke is a big doubt and City will also monitor Billy Clarke.

Gareth Evans and Zeli Ismail are expected to be named in the squad and Levi Sutton is back from suspension after his Barrow red card.

Black added: “We knew what he brings to the team from having him at Scunthorpe. Levi is very committed.

“I wouldn’t say he’s a dirty player but he gets himself into challenges that a more experienced player would maybe take a little step back from.

“Stuart’s had words with him in regard to going into these challenges. He’s got to be a bit more canny because he brings a lot of different things to that midfield area.”

Teams can now use up to five subs in a game – which could benefit City with the likes of Evans and Ismail just coming back from long lay-offs.

Black feels the increase is a good move with the number of soft-tissue injuries players are picking up because of the heavy schedule this season.

“The pre-season was crammed a little bit and we’ve had loads of games recently, so it hopefully will help the players with the prevention of injury.

“I think it was definitely needed with the situation we find ourselves in just now. It will certainly ease the strain on the physio’s door.

“With all the lads to come back for us, it’s something we are definitely happy with.”

Salford were installed as promotion favourites with the bookies but currently sit 11th – three points above City. Manager Richie Wellens takes charge of his first league home game after Graham Alexander’s early exit.

Black said: “They were in fifth position when Graham left his post.

“You should never be surprised what happens in football but he had got them off to a decent start.

“But the people who make the decisions at Salford are the ones that count. They’ve obviously made that change and the players will be busting a gut to impress the new manager.

“The two teams the bookmakers were talking about at the start of the season were Bolton and Salford.

“I don’t know if there is added pressure because of that but Bolton have had a bit of an indifferent start, although they had a good result last Friday.

“Salford are the same and they’ve got to live with that expectation level. I’m sure the people behind the scenes there are looking to get promotion this year.

“That comes with extra pressure and they’ve got to maintain a squad that can handle that.”