JOE Rothwell believes Oxford United can take advantage of the bumper Valley Parade crowd as they look for a morale-boosting win today.

Bradford City have the highest attendances in Sky Bet League One, with average gates exceeding 20,000.

But the big gates have not translated to points on the pitch and the Bantams have lost half of their games in the division on home soil.

Their sixth defeat came with a 3-1 reverse to Peterborough United on Boxing Day and Rothwell knows if the U’s can get their noses in front, the pressure on the hosts will crank up.

He said: “There should be a decent crowd, I think they had 20,000 there on Boxing Day.

“It will be hostile with them getting beat, so the fans might be on their back a little bit.

“Hopefully we can take full advantage and get the win.

“You’ve got to try to use any advantage you can. If we can nick a goal and turn the crowd it won’t be too nice for them.”

Both teams head into the game in need of a positive result after a Christmas period where confidence has taken a battering.

While United’s point at Gillingham on Tuesday is one more than Bradford have managed, the 7-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic a week ago still looms large.

But despite a run of just two wins in 11 league games, the U’s are only six points adrift of the play-offs.

And when it comes to regretting points dropped in the first half of the season, the most frustrating were the two which slipped away against the Bantams.

Rothwell looked set to be the match-winner when he scored in the 87th minute, only for Romain Vincelot to make it 2-2 with seconds of stoppage-time remain-ing.

The U’s midfielder said: “You do it every year, you look back on games and think ‘we could have picked up points there’.

“That’s the main one that sticks out (for me), probably because I scored.

“But it happens every season, there’s always games you look back on and think we should have won.

“You can’t dwell on it.”

Bradford boss Stuart McCall intends to freshen his side up after successive defeats, with Nat Knight-Percival expected to return at centre half after shrugging off an injury.


Bradford C: from Sattelmaier, McMahon, Knight-Percival, Kilgallon, Hendrie, Gillead, Dieng, Vincelot, Law, Wyke, Taylor, Omari, McCartan, Reeves, Hanson, Thompson, Robinson, Raeder.

Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Tiendalli, Martin, Mousinho, Ricardinho, Henry, Ledson, Ruffels, Rothwell, Thomas, Obika, Mehmeti, Van Kessel, Payne, Mowatt, Xemi, Williamson, Carroll, Shearer.