THE chorus of “Que sera” broke out within minutes of Sam Stubbs rustling the Derby net.

Victory for Graham Alexander’s mix-and-match line-up put the Bantams within two rounds of Wembley and the Bristol Street Motors Trophy. Dare we start to dream?

This was a well-deserved win for a team challenged by the manager to show their credentials.

They certainly did that, getting the ball down and playing with confidence on an impressive stage while restricting the usually free-scoring hosts.

He has an interesting selection headache for the weekend now.

Alexander had promised to shake things up for City’s first trip to Pride Park in 20 years – and was good to his word with a team sheet showing seven changes.

The only four survivors in the starting 11 were Richie Smallwood, Liam Ridehalgh, Jon Tomkinson and Alex Gilliead, who switched to right wing-back to replace the suspended Brad Halliday.

Ciaran Kelly was also out after picking up two yellows while Matty Platt was among the regulars dropping to the bench as Ash Taylor and Stubbs got a run-out in the back three.

Kevin McDonald partnered Smallwood in central midfield while Bobby Pointon and Harry Chapman supported target man Vadaine Oliver, making the first start of his injury-delayed season.

Colin Doyle deputised again for Harry Lewis in goal – he had last played at Derby in 2006 on loan for Millwall. But Jake Young was once again absent from the match-day squad.

Derby had made six changes from the weekend but there was still plenty of talent on show, including top scorer James Collins.

But it was City who made the bright start with Pointon, the only member of the front three not wearing gloves, producing plenty of early punch.

He fired a rising drive over the bar before Alex Gilliead’s cross was bobbled by keeper Josh Vickers as Derby made a mess of clearing.

The hosts took a while to get into their stride but then Louie Sibley’s angled pass picked out Liam Thompson’s run into the far corner of the box. Ridehalgh was across quickly to shut down the danger.

Smallwood clipped Kane Wilson 25 yards out and Joe Ward bent the free-kick over the wall but past Doyle’s right post.

City went even closer on the half hour as their press paid off with Gilliead winning the ball back near the Derby box. He found Chapman in it but his angled shot took a nick off Sonny Bradley that turned it just wide.

The Bantams continued to hold their own as half-time approached, forcing back-to-back corners but unable to fashion a clear sight of goal.

But they had negotiated the low-key opening 45 minutes with few alarms as Doyle remained well protected by his back three.

Paul Warne, concerned by Derby’s lack of bite, introduced Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Conor Hourihane for the resumption and switched to a 4-4-2.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Colin Doyle gives a thumbs up after City's Trophy winColin Doyle gives a thumbs up after City's Trophy win (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Tom Barkhuizen had switched sides to the right flank to test Ridehalgh and Tomkinson made an important clearance at the far post from a low cross, earning a chant of “USA, USA” from the travelling fans banked behind the goal.

Barkhuizen tumbled just inside the box under Ridehalgh’s challenge but ref Carl Brook was not interested.

The changes had livened up the home side and Mendez-Laing teased an opening for Hourihane but his fiercely-struck effort was superbly smothered by Stubbs throwing himself in the firing line.

But the defender would make an even bigger impact at the other end to break the stalemate midway through the half, rising to power a header home from Chapman’s corner.

As Derby reacted by throwing on two more first-team regulars, Vickers twice came to their rescue to prevent City going further ahead. He turned away an angled blast by Gilliead and then dived low to stop Chapman placing a side-foot shot in the far corner.

City continued to hunt a second as Chapman made a dazzling run goalwards. His shot was parried by Vickers before Ridehalgh’s follow-up was blocked.

Doyle whacked against the post saving from Joe Ward and needed lengthy treatment, then fumbling the resulting corner.

City made a treble sub for the final 10 minutes with Andy Cook, Clarke Oduor and Emmanuel Osadebe thrown on.

But they were hanging on nervously with a scramble in the box which ended with a Tyreece John-Jules shot deflecting wide.

Cook had the chance to make sure in the six added minutes after Osadebe sent Gilliead away. Vickers plunged at the feet of City’s top scorer to save again but it was too late to make any difference to the outcome.