ALEX Gilliead feels City are back in their comfort zone with the more direct approach under Kevin McDonald.

The caretaker boss has ditched the possession-based style of Mark Hughes for more “front-foot” football – which has brought back-to-back wins.

Gilliead, in line for the 100th start of his third spell at the club this afternoon, believes the Bantams can be more effective with what they know.

"I think there's a bit of familiarity about it,” he said. “But you should be able to play any way.

"The old gaffer wanted us to pass the ball out from the back and sometimes we'd get stuck in between ‘should we play out or go long’ but that was us on the pitch.

"With Kev, there was not as much possession last Saturday but we were in their faces, getting high and getting shots and crosses in. At home especially that's what we need to do with the fans.

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"If you press defences enough they'll just go long and I think that benefits us. We'll get the ball back and start our attacks.

"A lot of teams were doing that to us at home - pressing us, we were going long and they were getting the ball and coming back at us.

"It suits the players we've got, we've got a lot of athletic, fit players who can get around the pitch so as long as we buy into it we'll do well.”

City had less of the ball than Swindon in last week’s win – the first time that has happened at Valley Parade this season.

Leaders Notts County have shown that a possession style can pay off in League Two but they are an exception to the norm.

Gilliead added: “You've got to work on it a lot, it can't be done overnight. We tried to change shape this season and it didn't really work for us.

"You've either got the players to do it or you've not and the way we play on the front foot we've got a lot of options in the front area. The players we've got can get out at people and cause them problems.

“Kev has been very open about how he wants us to play. He's just stripped it back to the basics of working hard, being in people's faces and being good on the ball when you get it.

Crawling off the pitch

"It's more front foot and if you don't get it right, you're doing a lot of running backwards.

“But if you get it right up there you're nicking the ball and getting shots and crosses, that type of thing. That's my type of game to a tee.

"I was saying to Brad (Halliday) and Richie (Smallwood) the other night, when you work hard and you end up winning it always feels that bit better.

“A win's a win and you're always buzzing after one but when you feel like you've worked hard and you're crawling off the pitch it always gives you that little bit more enjoyment.”

McDonald has already given most of the squad a chance after making nine changes for the EFL Trophy win at Grimsby in midweek.

Gilliead admits it is a fresh start for everyone as the club weigh up their next move in finding a permanent successor for Hughes.

"The immediate reaction is a bit of guilt. Lads have ultimately not produced on the pitch and the manager's got the sack.

"But you've got to think about the next game quickly, especially in this league when it's Saturday-Tuesday. You've just got to quickly switch onto game mode.

"With the slate being wiped clean for everyone, everyone comes in with a bit of a jump in their step. They could be playing now.

"You could see that the other night from a lot of lads who hadn't played a lot of minutes. To get the win breeds confidence in the squad.

"Two wins with two totally different 11s gives Kev a couple of headaches. It's been a positive week, last week wasn't.”

The mood has also shifted off the field after the angry scenes at the end of the last few games of Hughes’ time at the helm.

Newcastle bring crowd into the game

Gilliead relished the change in vibe at Valley Parade against Swindon – and underlined the importance of City bringing the fans into play again.

“I watch a lot of Newcastle games. They're very front foot and bring the crowd into the game.

"Creating an atmosphere can be a bit of a problem for the away team so if we can kind of replicate something like that and get the crowd on their feet and a bit of a raucous atmosphere, that can only be a positive for us.

"Swindon are a good team and they did play well but we kind of got on top of them towards the end.

“I think we'll do that with a lot of teams if the crowd's like that and we're performing like that so I think it is important.”