THERE were reasons to be cheerful amid painful defeat for Graham Alexander as he picks through the bones of last night’s EFL Trophy semi-final.

Being that close to a shot at Wembley and then see it suddenly disappear with Wycombe’s last-gasp winner hit the City boss as hard as the players and Valley Parade fans.

But there was a lot to be upbeat about from how well his team played as they now resume their bid to gate-crash the League Two play-off picture.

One of those bright spots was the form of Calum Kavanagh who continues to show why City were so keen to bring him in on a permanent deal on deadline day.

The young striker could not add to his two goals in the previous games but not for want of trying.

He sent one effort flashing past the post and was later superbly denied by Wycombe keeper Max Stryjek from close range.

Alexander was again pleased with what he saw from the former Middlesbrough man.

He said: “I like Kav. He’s aggressive, he’s energetic and on the front foot.

“He wants to do the right things and he’s an intelligent player. He’s had a bit of information about the position he plays, in and out of possession, and has picked that up really well.

“Yeah, he’s been a real bright spark for us since he came into the squad in January.

“I also think he’s been superbly supported by the players around him. They’ve helped him settle in as quickly as he has.”

City will check on Ciaran Kelly’s situation at training tomorrow after the big Irishman was forced off just after the break following a knee to the ribs.

Liam Ridehalgh deputised on the left of the back three and Alexander has no worries with putting the experienced defender in there again if needed.

“I’ve got no qualms with Rides,” he added. “He trains fantastically well and is at it every day.

“I think that position suits him with his attributes.

“I thought he did well but it’s not just him. All the players deserve credit for last night and how they’ve been for me since we’ve come in.

“I can count on one hand how many times we’ve let ourselves down in games.

“I think we’ve been there or thereabouts. We just have to really put teams to bed when we have those games when we’re so on top.

“That’s maybe something we need to improve on.

“That’s been the case in a couple of games, certainly around January time when we were drawing at home.”