THE chase is on for City as they kick off the second half of the season in a Valley Parade reunion with former boss Gary Bowyer.

The Bantams go into the first home game for five weeks against Salford with a six-point gap to make up on the play-off places.

Derek Adams admits top scorer Andy Cook is “highly unlikely” to start as the Bantams look for a response to last week’s poor showing at Carlisle.

That defeat left City in 14th spot – three points behind Bowyer’s Salford, who have also under-achieved at this stage.

“Salford have had a similar start to the season as ourselves,” said Adams, who sidestepped any talk about the former manager’s first appearance back at Valley Parade in front of a crowd.

“We feel we should be in a higher position than we are and they will feel the same.

“There are a lot of teams looking at the play-off positions and trying to get themselves up there.

“It’s extremely tight but we’ve got another big game coming up. I think there will be a good atmosphere.

“Both clubs are trying to get out of the division and into League One. That’s been the situation for a number of seasons.

“It’s extremely tight and whatever clubs get the wins will propel themselves very quickly up the table.

“You only have to look at Tranmere who have done that and put themselves in a very good position.

“We’re the ones that are chasing at the moment. The teams above are under pressure to win for a different reason.

“Teams that can put a succession of wins together can get right up there very quickly. Draws are not what you need.”

Adams, who is set to hand a debut to Jamie Walker, admitted the last-gasp loss at the Peninsula Stadium back in September was another “one that got away”.

“We had a good encounter against them earlier in the season and they obviously scored a late goal. We’ve got something to think about from that game.

“We had some really big opportunities but their goalkeeper made some good saves.

“There have been a few that have got away this season and that’s been one of our biggest issues.

“We have been in commanding positions in terms of creating very good chances and haven’t been able to get the ball past the goalkeeper in that instance.

“That’s been our main problem. It’s not the creating of opportunities – although it was last Saturday – but in weeks gone by we haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Cook has not yet trained this week after his dead leg and Oscar Threlkeld is out with damaged knee ligaments. But skipper Niall Canavan is back in contention.

Walker has trained with his new team-mates since Tuesday and Adams is confident the on-loan Hearts man can make a big impact.

“I’ve given him the number 10 jersey for a reason. It’s because he will be a player we play through and we know that he can score goals.”