STUART McCall believes City are now strong enough to handle the pressure that has built up from an unsettling month on and off the field.

McCall will shake up his squad to face Oldham tomorrow with the new signings and fit-again duo Colin Doyle and Tony McMahon.

City have lost five on the bounce and failed to add Chesterfield striker Kristian Dennis on a topsy-turvy deadline day.

McCall admitted the close of the transfer window “left his head spinning” – but he has a clear view of where they go now.

He said: “January on and off the park has been a massive struggle.

“I think we’re stronger now but it’s taken us until the end of the window.

“Unfortunately, in that time we’ve lost games and that’s caused an uncertainty and despondency. But all we can do is look to make February a good one and rebuild.

“The positives are Charlie (Wyke) and Tony are still here and we’ve brought in some good professionals.

“It’s time to come out fighting. We’ve got a good group and we’ve just got to change that mood.”

McMahon has not played since suffering a thigh injury at Fleetwood on New Year’s Day. The right back was also linked all month with a move to Scunthorpe.

But McCall has no doubts about the focus of a player who leads the team with assists.

He added: “First and foremost, Tony has had a genuine injury and wouldn’t have played any part anyway. He’s been doing his rehab.

“The uncertainty for him rose from the start of the window getting a bid from Scunthorpe.

“He obviously knew about it and the deal that was put to him. The feeling was that Scunthorpe would come back with an improved bid to test us and that’s unsettling for a player.

“But the window is closed now, Tony’s fit and he’s here until the end of the season with his contract.

“I’m sure he’ll be as committed as any player. There are no worries with that.”

McCall revealed the stresses and strains of deadline day as the Dennis deal was pulled late on when Chesterfield could not get Rotherham’s Jonson Clarke-Harris in his place.

The City boss said: “If you’d asked me at lunchtime, I would have said there would be three or four incomings and outgoings. In the end, there was none.

“It was hard for the lad (Dennis). He had a medical at 1pm in Manchester and just as he’s getting back in the door here we find out Chesterfield haven’t signed the paperwork.

“I get that. We had a player who looked to be going out and we had to pull the plug at 9.30pm.

“But it’s tough on the lad to go back there now. His head was whirring and he stayed until 9pm.

“We then got a green light for another forward. I spoke to a club in the Championship but, lo and behold, somebody takes another player and he can’t afford to let him go out.”

Top scorer Wyke was the focus of heavy speculation but City did not get a single offer. That did not stop McCall worrying as the clock ticked.

“We’ve not had a sniff all window, so if somebody came in at 7.30-8pm it would be totally wrong.

“But if someone did at that time, depending what money it was, we might have had to accept it. That’s how draining it could have been.

“Up and down the country, it’s so unsettling for managers, agents, chief execs and players.”

Ryan McGowan’s international clearance has come through and the Australian international is likely to be pitched straight into a defence without a clean sheet in over two months.

McCall said: “Our results in the last month have put us all under pressure.

“Oldham are having a bit of a run like us. It will be a battle but we go in with a stronger squad than we’ve had for a month and we’ve got to produce.”