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HUGHES HOPES FOR IMPROVED PERFORMANCE AGAINST CARLISLE

19 January 2023

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Mark Hughes has called for a better showing against Carlisle United, as City look to right the wrongs of Boxing Day when the Cumbrians travel to the University of Bradford Stadium this weekend.

Hughes believes his side can learn from how Carlisle played last month, and also insists the Bantams’ new-found tactical flexibility can aid them on Saturday.

The City chief acknowledged the importance of the encounter at his pre-match press conference, and understands how much a win will boost the Bantams’ promotion push.

He said: “We are looking forward to Saturday, as we did not perform well up in Carlisle on Boxing Day, so it gives us a chance to show them what we are made of.

“It was difficult to play against them and they were hard to break down. Once they got in front, we could not create enough clear-cut chances.

“Maybe that was a catalyst for our change, and to find a new way to damage opposition at the top end of the pitch. 

“We are more flexible now, and hopefully we are in a position to beat them.

“They are one of our closest rivals in the league table, so we need to help ourselves and hinder them.

“It does feel like a six-pointer, but we have a lot of games coming up that we also need to focus on.

“We have to take it game by game, and take each game as it comes. We are in the second half of the season, and have to make sure we are in a good position come the end.

“Saturday will not define our season, but we can help it with a win.”

The Welshman praised the balance of his side, and how recent January recruits should not worry about disrupting the morale of the group.

Hughes has freshened his squad in January, though is not concerned about his new signings not settling in at Valley Parade.

The 59-year-old reaffirms that the Bantams “are in good shape” at the moment, and hopes the “loud dressing room” and “high spirit” can translate on the pitch.

“We have been wise this January,” Hughes continued.

“You have to look at what we need, and what will enhance the group.

“You need to do your homework, and there is always that risk when you sign a player, because you never know how they will react, but the players we have bought it seem to balance the team.

“I do not anticipate that we will have a problem with the side being unbalanced. We are an open and fairly welcome group, so new players will not have issue with that.

“Everyone is here to achieve success here, and if everyone has that attitude, we will have a good chance of doing that. 

“A loud and inclusive dressing room is a positive. We like to involve everybody.

“It does not matter how many are here, we will get the most out of the group and get them working together.

“We improve all of our players, and integrate them as a team.

“We are in a good shape, and the spirit is high, so, as a whole, we are in great position for Saturday.”

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