STUART McCall issued a rallying call to his threadbare City side and urged: “We’ve got to keep at it.”

The Bantams could have up to eight players missing for tonight’s clash with second-placed Cheltenham at Valley Parade.

McCall admitted that virtually every fit member of his squad will be involved – and he plans to use all five subs to protect from any further knocks.

With City wobbling in 20th spot, just two points above the League Two drop zone, it is a very worrying position.

But McCall vowed to meet the challenge head-on and expects his team to do the same.

He said: “I’ve been through difficult times, though maybe not as bad as this injury-wise.

“But there’s no other option. You’ve got to get out there and front it up.

“You’ve got to come in with a plan, got to be bright and focus on what you can do and just believe there are a few reinforcements coming back not far round the corner.

“We are hurt regarding the opportunities of what we can do and change at this moment in time.

“But we’ve got to stick at it. It’s easy saying that but it’s got to start happening.

“Look at Bolton – we went there a month ago and shouldn’t have lost the game.

“They’ve now won four on the bounce. That’s what you’ve got to look to.

“You’ve got to look to past experience you’ve had as a player, a manager and a coach when there have been difficult times.

“But we could do with a little bit of luck turning our way and getting something to build on.”

Reece Staunton’s long-term absence was confirmed yesterday as he saw a specialist about his severe hamstring injury.

That will prioritise the search for a left-sided centre half in next month’s transfer window. But City play eight times before then.

McCall added: “There’s a long way to go and there will certainly be changes here in January when we get to the window.

“I keep saying hopefully we’ll get players back. But we seem to get one back and then have three of the 18 from Saturday who are now out.

“It’s challenging but what’s the other option. You see what’s going on in the world today and it is what it is.

“If we were going through this now with a fully-fit squad, it would be really concerning.

“But you do see people hopefully available soon to make us better. It’s been a stop-start season for too many of the players.

“The other option is to lie down and not have a fight in us.

“We’ve got to stick at it and keep going. When we get a result, things can look a brighter place.”

Cheltenham are unbeaten in their last six matches and will pose an aerial threat with their height and physical approach.

McCall said: “I watched a clip of one of their games and they had eight in the box for corners who are six foot plus. Aerially they get a lot of goals from set-plays and long throws.

“You’ve got to look at that without having the biggest side to pick from as well.

“It’s a challenge but we’ve got to come up with something where we can be resolute as well as a way where we can create and hurt them. We’ve got to carry a threat while being more difficult to play against.”