GREG Abbott admits City owe the fans a win tomorrow as the first step towards easing the pain over Stuart McCall’s exit.

The Bantams could face a prickly mood at Valley Parade against Bury in the first game since McCall was sacked.

Head of recruitment Abbott, who is acting as caretaker boss, and Kenny Black have been placed in charge for the match and for Tuesday’s trip to Charlton while discussions continue over the next manager.

Simon Grayson and Phil Brown are both thought be favoured candidates in the search for an experienced replacement for McCall.

The Telegraph & Argus understands there has been contact between the club and leading target Grayson's representatives. It is thought he is currently considering his next move amid other interest - he is also in the frame for Barnsley.

Abbott is acutely aware of how getting rid of City legend McCall has knocked so many for six in and around the club.

He said: “It’s not been an easy week. Monday was a really tough day for everybody.

“On a personal note, you see a very good friend and work colleague lose his job and see the disappointment spread around the football club and in the city itself.

“We’re just getting rid of that sombreness at the training ground. We couldn’t walk in singing and dancing but it’s our job to lift the group.

“There’s a respect margin to everybody here and I, more than anybody, know that Stuart is probably going to be the most popular person ever to put on a Bradford City shirt.

“He’s a very proud man and he’ll be very hurt – and there are a lot of hurt supporters with a lot of opinions.

“They are entitled to that and if their opinion is one of disappointment then we, as a club, have to respect that. The guy is one of the greats of this football club.”

McCall has been in touch with his former coaching staff during the week and Abbott knows he will be firmly behind their bid to end the six-game losing streak that cost the manager his job.

He added: “Sometimes as a manager you don’t want the next one to do better than you. But we spoke to him Wednesday and he was asking about the team and everything.

“Stuart is a very dignified man and it will be hurting at the minute. The phone rings less often and it’s tough.

“But our thoughts are with him and we’ll remain friends.

“For Stuart’s sake, let’s hope he gets something that suits him going forward because he’s a very good football man.

“There are jobs out there. But he needs to spend a little bit of time picking himself up.”

Paul Taylor, Alex Gilliead and Tyrell Robinson are all back in the ranks to face the League One bottom club.

Nicky Law is still struggling with the illness that kept him out at Oldham but Abbott and Black have more resources to call upon than at any time since City’s form suddenly dipped.

Abbott added: “If you actually look at our squad when everybody’s fit, we’ve done reasonably well.

“The last 18 months have been terrific. But this last month we’ve had one or two situations, issues and fitness problems where we haven’t had that fluency.

“It’s really hurt us and obviously the decision with Stuart has been made off the back of that.

“Personally it’s not easy to detach yourself from what’s happened but professionally we have to.

“When we’re stood on that touchline in front of 20,000 fans looking for a victory, we owe them.

“The atmosphere before the game could be feisty and fractious and we have to be ready for that. You have to respect that.

“After the game, everything will rear its head again. But during the 90 minutes, I would think the fans would want the team to win.

“On a personal side, we’ll carry our own feelings but people have to be aware we’re at this football club to try and win a game.

“We want to send the fans home happy with the result. But by the time they get to the pubs I’m sure the debate will go on again.”