Zesh Rehman insists there is no time for long faces as the promotion race heads for a frantic finish.

City’s hopes took a dent with Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at Rochdale, cranking up the pressure again for Saturday's visit to Exeter – another side in the thick of it at the top of League Two.

The Bantams left Spotland feeling short-changed by referee Scott Mathieson and the two second-half penalty calls that put the game beyond them.

But Rehman, who was booked after coming on as a sub, says it is no good letting that sense of injustice linger as they head for Devon to face Paul Tisdale’s play-off dark horses.

The Pakistani defender said: “You can’t afford to ever feel sorry for yourself in this game. There are always highs and lows for players and managers and teams; it’s all about how you react and deal with things.

“Sometimes in football, it doesn’t go your own way because of things that are beyond your control, like the penalty decisions at Rochdale.

“You can’t do anything about it so there is no point in just getting angry. There are so many games coming up and you have to focus on what you are trying to achieve.”

Rehman’s 20-minute run-out in midweek, when he replaced Paul Arnison, was his first involvement since being dropped after the previous away defeat at Notts County.

Like everyone else, he is mystified at how City can look so invincible on home turf but so vulnerable on their recent travels.

He added: “It’s really frustrating but I can’t put my finger on it because I’ve not really been here long enough but I’ve been part of one victory away from home at Gillingham, which was a solid performance where we really deserved to win.

“It’s hard to pin-point one thing that’s been going wrong in the other games but we’ve got enough characters in the side to bounce back, as we’ve already shown.

“The team did that against Macclesfield straight after the Notts County game and hopefully we can keep positive and do the same tomorrow.

“Exeter are going well but they all are at this stage of the season because most teams have got something to play for.

“We’ve got a decent squad which the gaffer can rotate and, whether you’re playing or not, we are all pulling in the right direction.

“If everyone sticks to what the gaffer and Jakes (Wayne Jacobs) set us out to do, then it will work more often than not.

“We’ve got to keep believing in ourselves because we are so close to achieving something from this season.”

With City staying down in the south for both the Exeter and Bournemouth games, they are taking a squad of 20.

New signing Keith Gillespie, Chris Brandon and Paul McLaren have all been added after playing 70 minutes in Wednesday’s reserve game.

It was McLaren’s first action since the calf injury he suffered after the Bury game.

Stuart McCall said: “Unfortunately, Paul just nipped his calf when he came on at Barnet which put him back another ten days but he’s been looking sharp in training since he joined in with us last Monday.”

Jon McLaughlin will replace youngster Matthew Convey as the back-up keeper.