IT WAS the fall-out from the lowest point of an otherwise unforgettable season.

Making history by reaching the Capital One Cup final was definitely not on the agenda.

Three weeks on from Wembley, the City players were hustled into the training ground for a Sunday morning dressing-down.

The day before, they had been well beaten 4-1 at Exeter. With just two wins from 14 in the league, the promotion dream was fading fast.

Phil Parkinson summoned the troops to clear the air.

Nathan Doyle recalled: "It was rare to have us in like that. We were never in on a Sunday.

"All we did was watch the video of the game. Everyone's sat there thinking 'we've all had stinkers' and it must have taken three hours or even longer to dissect.

"It was a tough place to go, a shabby pitch and the conditions were terrible, but we knew we hadn't played well.

"But we also didn't want to be dragged in on a Sunday again like that.

"The lads in the dressing room rallied round at that point. It was like a feeling of 'right, we need to do this'.

"It had been amazing to be part of the run to the League Cup final – but we also knew in the back of our minds that Bradford were too big a club to be stuck in League Two.

"Promotion was the be-all and end-all and with the cup debacle (losing 5-0 to Swansea) out of the way, we had to do something.

"After Exeter, we knew that once we got that next win, it would put a spring back in our step and we could get moving again."

Doyle, the 'other half' of the central midfield tandem with Gary Jones, rarely looked back from that point as the season climaxed in a triumphant return to Wembley.

A gap to the play-offs that had stretched as far as eight points was wiped out with a game to spare. The promotion goal was gloriously achieved as Northampton were swatted away in one irresistible half hour.

Five years on, Doyle believes that success can be the blueprint for Simon Grayson's present-day squad to dust themselves down and, to coin that ubiquitous football phrase, "go again".

Like 2013, they returned pointless from deepest Devon. Last week's 1-0 loss at Plymouth extended City's barren streak to eight games without a league success.

Yet Doyle insists previous experience proves the tables can be turned.

"One result can change everything, no matter what you might think at the minute," he said.

"Bradford fans may be feeling they aren't going to do it now but get that one result and, all of a sudden, the next home game and everybody's bouncing.

"The fans do appreciate their football there. You don't have to play great and be the Man City of League One.

"You just need that result – and then the bounce you'll get around that stadium will be immense.

"The positive reaction among the fans will funnel down to the team and the manager. Everyone can feed off that.

"They've not had a win in nine games but look at the position they are still in – three points off the play-offs.

"You should take heart from the fact that, after such a tough run, they are still that close.

"Take it as a positive in the dressing room. I'm sure the manager will be telling them 'one win and we can kick on again'.

"If negativity creeps in, it can take over. A win out of anywhere, whether it's 6-5 or a scrappy 1-0, gets that momentum going again."

Doyle was forced to hang up his own boots after rupturing his Achilles tendon while playing for Luton. He is currently adjusting to life after the game.

"I do a few bits with Hull City on match days but it's a slow process," he admitted.

"It is difficult because football is all I've ever known – but I'll get there eventually and find something to get my teeth into."

Doyle maintains a close eye on the Bantams and believes the know-how of the play-off survivors from last year will be crucial for the run-in.

"It may not be achievable to catch Blackburn, Wigan or Shrewsbury, so you're fighting for the play-offs," he said.

"But having been through it last year, the lads who are still there know what it takes.

"It doesn't matter if you manage to get in the play-offs last game. That momentum propels you through.

"If you've been up there all season, there's more pressure on you. The play-offs are almost seen as a negative because you've missed out on the top two.

"But if you are hanging on the coat-tails of the play-offs and get in there literally right at the end, then everybody is buzzing."