CITY'S fourth loss on the bounce has increased concerns as they slip closer to the wrong end of League Two.

But there were some encouraging signs in a hard-working effort against high-flying Cheltenham last night.

Here are some points raised from City's 2-1 defeat.


The mindset is now simply on survival – certainly in the short term.

With 33 games still to play, it’s not as if time is running out for the Bantams. But there can be no complacency about a situation where they are hovering so close to the relegation zone.

The tactics against Cheltenham, however forced on Stuart McCall by injury, were more pragmatic and just what will be needed if City are to drag themselves out of this mess.

It’s not about clever thinking and pretty football now.


The effort put in during an encouraging first half inevitably took its toll as Cheltenham came on strong the longer the game went on.

You could see the confidence in the visitors that comes from a team going well and knowing they will score at some point.

For City, fatigue set in both physically and mentally – which was clear when they failed to defend the long throw-in that set up Cheltenham’s winner.

Having defended them well up to that point, it was another costly lapse of concentration defensively.


McCall has stressed that tough times call for tough characters and Kian Scales delivered a big-hearted performance on his full league debut.

The 18-year-old would not have been thrown in if City’s casualty list had not been so high but he did not shirk from the sizeable challenge.

The teenager has an eye for goal, which he showed from the off, and displayed the confidence and technique to get forward before inevitably tiring.

This is the steepest learning curve imaginable for the young pros but they will be better and stronger for it.


Clayton Donaldson has been taking one for the team ever since Lee Novak got injured.

Once again, the old man of the City side had to put his body in the firing line with orders to stay upfield where possible and slug it out with Cheltenham strong man Ben Tozer.

Donaldson got his reward with the thumping header that gave City first-half hope. The careless touches late on were understandable after the amount of energy he had put in – but he’ll have to do it all again on Saturday.


The key injuries have exposed a softish underbelly to City’s squad which will need reinforcing in a critical January transfer window - and have restricted McCall’s ability to change things during games.

The names on the bench is always the indicator of a club’s strength in depth – and Bryce Hosannah and Callum Cooke’s departure in the second half had a big impact. Substitutes Tyler French and Harry Pritchard were nowhere near as effective.

Meanwhile, Cheltenham’s changes maintained their momentum and the winning goal came from substitute Chris Clements.