“WE can’t be victims” – that’s the warning for the crestfallen City players after their semi-final hammer blow.

The Bantams will wake up today feeling the pain of stoppage-time defeat to Wycombe at Valley Parade.

A potential place in the EFL Trophy at Wembley was stolen away in agonising circumstances.

But Graham Alexander insists there is no time to be moping with the quick turnaround to Saturday’s league trip to Barrow.

“We had a few words after the game about how proud I am,” he said.

“But this is what football is. We can’t be victims.

“You can feel sorry for yourselves but nobody else will. Barrow won’t be feeling sorry for us on Saturday.

“We have to be ready for that. I don’t think we have a choice.

“The only option is to be ready for the next fight and I’m sure we’ve got the players to do that.

“I expect them to feel immense pain and disappointment today and maybe even a bit tomorrow and Saturday. But you’ve got to use it as fuel to rise to the occasion.

“That’s what we have to do.”

City are just two points off the play-offs in 13th in the congested League Two table – and have gained nine on sixth-placed Barrow on the back of three straight wins.

The Cumbrians have hit a slump with three consecutive losses to raise the stakes for the weekend. Alexander sees it as an ideal opportunity to pick themselves up from last night.

Alexander added: “It’s like double points. It’s a big game for us but they all are now.

“We have to make sure that this isn’t a knock-out blow for our season.

“It’s one competition we were desperate to go all the way in, not just to get to the final but try and win.

“It’s been taken away from us. But the thing with football is that it offers you another opportunity and you have to go and take it.

“That’s what we’ll have to try and do in the league programme now.

“I’ve said to the players that if we can match that performance, it’s there for us.

“We approached that game as you should do with a semi-final. There were no distractions and we were at it from minute one.

“That gives me great confidence that the players will continue to do that.”