TO PARAPHRASE the immortal words of Mike Bassett, City eased into round two with “four-four-bloomin’-two”.

But don’t expect that to be the template of a gung-ho assault for the rest of the League One promotion campaign.

Almost in honour of the traditions of the FA Cup, there was something old school about City’s approach against a team they were always tipped to beat.

Chesterfield might have gone with three central midfielders but Stuart McCall threw caution to the wind to utilise both flanks.

You’d like to imagine someone in the dressing room calling over Alex Gilliead and Paul Taylor in the pre-match team talk and telling them to “go get chalk on your boots.”

It was a formation that went down well with the fans – at least those who made the effort in an audience that was predictably a quarter the size of the usual Valley Parade figure.

But you suspect that Romain Vincelot and Timothee Dieng did not share their glee as they were subjected to a thankless afternoon of running, harrying and chasing some more to make up for their numerical shortfall in the heart of the pitch.

Nor did McCall, who stressed afterwards that it was a formation purely designed for the occasion and not a sign of things to come.

Another example of how the Bantams boss will always pick horses for courses. But having watched the lowly League Two visitors enjoy so much of the ball, you sense this horse might have bolted.

For all their fearless approach, Chesterfield did little to really hurt the hosts. A better opposition would have asked a lot more pressing questions.

“It does sometimes leave you open when you play like we did with two wide men and two forwards,” said McCall.

“It’s not a problem if a team plays three in the middle of the park against you and then just launches it. But they passed through us and it was hard work for Romain and Tim.

“As good as it is to get the ball out wide and you’ve got two forwards in the box, and that’s how we used to play here in my time before, I wasn’t too happy with the amount of possession they had for a team in the division lower than us.”

On a brighter note, the throwback to McCall’s first managerial spell was echoed with the outcome – a win to end a wretched personal cup run for the boss.

At the fourth attempt since coming back, he finally avoided a fall at the first hurdle in the two major cup competitions.

Throw in the end of his initial time at the helm and it was 2008 since McCall’s last City win in the FA Cup at MK Dons – and ten years since they had done it at home against Chester.

So maybe let’s not get too caught up in the nit-picking over who might have had too much of the ball.

The “holy grail” of round three, and a potential date with one of the big boys, is one win from McCall’s grasp. A kind draw tomorrow evening and maybe he will at last be reminded that the FA Cup does exist into January.

He was indebted to the “Alex brothers”, Gilliead and Jones, for the goals that forged a first-half platform that effectively ended Chesterfield’s hopes of following Accrington’s giant-killing lead from 12 months earlier.

Both scorers will feel they made their point.

For all Gilliead’s willingness to take on defenders and ability to make things happen, the winger was well aware of the lack of entries in his goals column – both with assists and scoring them.

So the confident way he tucked home his chance just four minutes in could not have come at a more opportune moment.

The timing was spot on in settling down the hosts and, for himself, the perfect proof of why City are so keen to keep him for the season. McCall’s post-match revelation that the deal is being sorted with Newcastle was arguably the highlight of the afternoon.

For Jones, it was a real red-letter day. Given the chance to link up again with Charlie Wyke, he knew this was an opportunity he could not let slip.

A personal tally of that early assist and then an equally convincingly-taken second goal just before half-time was an ample riposte to the doubters, his manager included.

It has been a strange few months for the striker, whose three goals in the Checkatrade Trophy have almost underlined his bit-part status in team selection. “Not doing enough” seemed to be the general verdict of the coaching staff.

But you sense he is emerging from that tunnel – and that has got to be good news for McCall and City.

The hunt will be on in January to find some cover for Wyke who is willing and able to take the hits. But the role of chief supporting act to play alongside looks very much up for grabs now.

Dominic Poleon, Omari Patrick and Taylor will be well aware Jones has thrown himself firmly back into the mix.

McCall had muddied the waters in the warm-up over which loanees would be clear to play.

Tom Field’s absence on the team sheet, the only one of those currently contracted up to January, dropped a heavy hint that Brentford will be taking him back.

His unavailability meant a rare outing at left back for Nathaniel Knight-Percival. Not quite as reluctant as Matt Kilgallon to abandon his usual central position for full back, he still didn’t look completely at ease in reprising a role he played several times with Shrewsbury.

The long-term back-up for the sidelined Adam Chicksen may well be Tyrell Robinson, whose attacking forays as a late substitute produced a stir among a previously-subdued crowd.

Valley Parade resembled a library for long spells after City dispelled any anxiety with their first-half double strike.

The opener stemmed from Knight-Percival’s clearance to Jones just over halfway. He slipped it through to Gilliead who scored with the assurance of a proven hitman, rather than someone without a goal in over a year.

The second started with Dieng’s strong challenge springing the ball to Wyke. He played in Jones, who found the bottom corner to deliver an emphatic message.