SIMON Grayson is demanding City show that there is life without Charlie Wyke.

Grayson finally takes his place in the home dug-out at Valley Parade for the first time this afternoon.

But he will face MK Dons without top scorer Wyke, who begins a three-game ban for his Plymouth red card.

Grayson, though, insists the Bantams cannot use the target man’s absence as an excuse as they head into a 12-game mini-season that will decide their top-six hopes.

He said: “We’re disappointed to be missing Charlie but somebody else has to come to the party now and do whatever’s required to get those results.

“If we’re giving up on one player being out the team, then we might as well pack our bags and go home and give up on our opportunity of getting to the play-offs.

“From day one, I’ve said the slate is clean for every player. It’s a new start.

“We’ve got 12 games and need to win as many as possible.

“Players who’ve maybe not played much recently or have not contributed in the manner they should have done have got to step up.

“All the players are here because they’ve got ability and good characteristics.

“Whoever’s in the team now must give everything. If it means after 60-70 minutes, they are absolutely out on their feet then so be it.

“Hopefully the supporters will see the effort and commitment from individuals and the team that they probably saw earlier in the season.”

Grayson confirmed that Alex Jones and Omari Patrick have an outside chance of being in the squad after both came through 45 minutes in the reserves.

But with such a hectic schedule approaching, he will not take any risks.

“We’ll have to see where we are but what we don’t do is rush players who have come back from a decent length out,” he added.

“You’ve got to remember Alex has been out for a number of months rather than weeks. But potentially they might be in and around the bench.”

Grayson has had to wait four weeks for his first home game in charge – and the disruptive weather has made the build-up challenging.

He said: “It’s not been ideal. But the players have had a long, hard season and we’ve tried to mix it up by getting some work into them but also giving them some time off to rejuvenate that spark.

“We’ve done everything we can to get some training into the players.

“We haven’t got the luxury of the Premier League having undersoil-heated training pitches and indoor domes. It’s what we are and what we have to deal with.

“But over this last week, they look like they’ve got a bit about them. Hopefully the lay-off has done us good but proof will be in the pudding of the next few games.”

Valley Parade ground staff have been working intensively on the pitch to make it playable. But Grayson does not see the tricky surface as a reason for concern ahead of two home games in four days.

“We’ll take it into consideration but the opposition are playing on the same pitch.

“It’s not ideal but we know what we need to do.

“It will be nice to be in the home dug-out and hopefully getting some nice comments rather than pelters when you come as the away manager.

“We’ve got to give the supporters something to be proud about and the players work and chase.

“If they give a bad pass away, do something about getting it back.

“We want to see a team to reflect what I want – hard working who will do whatever’s required to win a game.”