April 2013: CITY 4 (Wells 6, pen 22; Davies 45, Thompson 57) BRISTOL ROVERS 1 (Hitchcock 50)

CITY are still hoping to home in on the play-offs with five of their next seven games at Valley Parade.

The Bantams are unbeaten in their own backyard in the four months under the joint managers.

Extending that nine-game run will be crucial to keep alive their attempt to gate-crash the promotion lottery.

Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with City’s last successful charge for the League Two top seven in 2013.

Then, like now, they had to come with a late surge – and only sneaked in the play-off places with four games left.

That was achieved in style with a 4-1 win over Bristol Rovers at Valley Parade this week eight years ago.

The visitors had arrived in West Yorkshire as the form team in the division with four wins out of five. They finished well beaten as City swaggered to a victory which left the 10,600-strong audience dreaming of a Wembley return.

The confidence among Phil Parkinson’s troops was apparent from the kick-off – well, within 17 seconds of it.

That is how long it took for Nahki Wells to cut in from the right and smack the Rovers crossbar.

The crowd roared in anticipation and did not have to wait much longer for a breakthrough.

Garry Thompson brushed off left back Lee Brown to pick out Wells, who claimed his 20th goal of the season with a simple header.

Thompson fired just wide before the visitors lost Danny Woodards with a serious knee injury.

Sub Olly Clarke almost equalised with his first involvement as Jon McLaughlin blocked with his legs.

But City were quickly back at it and Steve Mildenhall tipped away another Wells effort. The escape was brief.

The corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Ricky Ravenhill was tripped by Fabian Broghammer as he shaped to shoot.

Up stepped Wells to fire his and City’s second goal and a third win on the bounce was already beckoning.

Again, McLaughlin denied Rovers a lifeline by spreading himself wide enough to somehow keep out a point-blank downward header from Tom Hitchcock.

His fantastic save was a reminder of the attacking danger that John Ward’s side posed but City had no intention of taking their foot off the pedal in a breathless game.

And they were celebrating a third goal right before the break.

Kyel Reid was flattened by Michael Smith 10 yards inside the Rovers half, Gary Jones floated the free-kick into the goalmouth and Andrew Davies took advantage of Mildenhall's hesitancy to glance it gently into the corner.

Jones ran towards the fans fist-pumping the air as City savoured their most prolific first-half display for eight months.

It was all or nothing for Bristol Rovers coming out for the second half – and they pulled a goal back within five minutes.

Rory McArdle, who had a difficult night, missed his clearance as he attempted to volley clear and Hitchcock raced clear before beating McLaughlin via the inside of the post. The keeper reacted furiously at seeing City breached in such a careless manner.

Bizarrely, it ended a run of nine successive clean sheets for the Bantams in Tuesday games.

Rovers threw more men forward to chase an improbable comeback – and were punished by a clinical counter-attack to put the result beyond doubt.

Smith got in a mess on halfway and Wells picked up the loose ball to work it on for Thompson. His first touch took him clear of two defenders and the finish gave Mildenhall no chance.

Wells sensed blood and was only denied his second City hat-trick by a fine tip wide from Mildenhall.

With job done, Parkinson withdrew Jones and Thompson to well-deserved standing ovations.

But his rampant side were still pushing and Mildenhall was forced into late saves from Ricky Ravenhill and Reid – with his face – to prevent the score getting further out of hand.

"We haven't really mentioned the play-offs,” said Parkinson, echoing the comments right now. “We just talk about what we need to do to play well in each individual game.

“It’s all about keeping it going now. We'll keep our feet on the floor because there's a lot of work still left to do.

"I'm sure everyone will look at the league table but we've got to perform well and give ourselves the best chance."

CITY: McLaughlin, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Thompson (Atkinson 76), Jones (Doyle 72), Ravenhill, Reid, Wells (Connell 80), Hanson.

BRISTOL ROVERS: Mildenhall, Smith, McDonald, McChrystal, Brown, Broghammer, Woodards (Clarke 15), Norburn, Anyinsah (Richards 71), Hitchcock, Brunt.