IT IS safe to say Pep Guardiola will not be among the list of potential successors for Stuart McCall.

But Ryan McGowan dropped his illustrious name to highlight how it’s the players who ultimately hold any manager’s fate in their hands – whether that’s at Bradford City or Manchester City.

The Australian was the shining light on another dark afternoon at Oldham last week – one that grew darker with the actions that followed less than 48 hours later.

McGowan produced a defensively-sturdy debut to suggest he can prove an astute signing, especially with a World Cup place firmly in his sights for extra motivation.

That attitude needs to be mirrored throughout the team for a home clash with Bury that will have a significant impact on and off the pitch.

McCall may not have got the chance to be involved but his verdict that it will be a “must, must, must win” game still resonates.

McGowan knows it’s down to the players to do it justice and insists they will not be fazed by the pressure to get a result.

He said: “It takes big characters, big boys and we have got plenty of those in the changing room.

“The manager can set us up to do everything and be Pep Guardiola from Monday to Friday. But it is up to us to do the job.

"It is what you want as a footballer, really. I don't go into any game, whoever I am playing against, thinking I will take a draw.

“You play every game to win and that suits me perfectly if selected to play – making my home debut to get three points and really kicking on.

“We have got some good games and, in this league, if you get a little run of wins, all of a sudden, everyone will forget about January and you are flying towards the business end of the season.

"Like that goal that Oldham scored, we need a shot-come-cross that gets deflected in and rub of the green here and there.

“But you only get that by putting in the effort and performances. We hope to put those wrongs right at the weekend."

A dreadful Boundary Park pitch last week was not the easiest introduction for a player whose last competitive match before Christmas was played in the balmy conditions of the United Arab Emirates.

But McGowan is excited by the challenge of getting City firing again after the six-game slump that cost McCall his job.

He added: “I spent a long time up in Scotland. But it is a different ball game down here and I am really forward to getting my teeth stuck into this.

“I want to test myself in this league.

"I thought I was maybe not as fit as I would like to be. But I showed the standard things you need – I give 100 per cent commitment which is what I base my game on.

"It had been five or six weeks since I last played. But when you have got a big support who have come through and the situation we are in, it is kind of every man for themselves to help the team and I did the best I could.”