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League One

Wolverhampton Wanderers are in the hunt - Kenny Jackett

1 February 2014

Kenny Jackett has automatic promotion firmly in his sights after watching Wolverhampton Wanderers move back into the top-two in League 1 with a professional display against 10-man Bradford City.

Goals either side of half-time from Kevin McDonald and Nouha Dicko earned Wanderers a fourth successive win to keep their bid to make an instant return to the Championship on track.

McDonald's second goal in two games in first-half injury-time and a second strike in three matches for Dicko after 57 minutes following his £300,000 move from Wigan sealed the points against a Bradford side who had to play for more than an hour with 10 men after the dismissal of Nathan Doyle.

Jackett said: "It is tight between the top three in truth and it is all now about going forward.

"I am pleased to be in the race for promotion and I am really looking to push on now and earn that automatic place.

"The three clubs, and probably Preston as well, will think they have got a chance.

"We have now got to look to keep working hard on the training ground and to improve the pattern of play which is quite constructive and very much possession-based.

"I was delighted with the win and it makes it very tight at the top which is great and we are looking, in the last 17 games of the season, to be as fit and as strong as we possibly can.

"I felt that our football was good again. We didn't perhaps do enough with it and up and around the box we were a little bit slow with our play and slow with our passing and didn't take the chance to maybe have a strike and have a strike at the edge of the box.

"But we got two goals, we can't complain, and a very good clean sheet but we were somewhat wasteful in possession I thought up and around their box.

"Bradford are a very spirited team and well organised. They have a good manager and were unlucky not to score themselves after hitting the woodwork twice."

Jackett admitted that the dismissal of Doyle was a major turning point.

He added: "Any team going down to 10 men is a big moment in the game and I felt that then we tried to make the pitch as big as we possibly can.

"We were playing quite well before that without scoring goals and to get that first goal just before half-time I felt was a crucial one. It gave us a big lift going into the break.

"To win four games is great and I am very pleased to be as consistent as that. It was a great clean sheet as well. That is key as well, defensively, where we are not giving much away."

Bradford were reduced to 10 men when Doyle collected his second yellow card in the space of eight minutes after a foul on McDonald.

Funnily enough the Bantams then almost took the lead when Adam Reach rattled the crossbar with a shot.

But it was almost incessant Wolves pressure afterwards and that finally paid off when Bakary Sako rolled the ball into the path of McDonald who calmly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.

The visitors knew that their luck was out when Stephen Darby hit the post four minutes before Dicko struck from close range - converting Sako's cross.

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson felt that the dismissal of Doyle always left them with a massive task but he was pleased with character of his side.

He said: "I thought that the first booking, the ref could probably have managed that situation a bit better in all honesty. But I felt the second one was a rash challenge by Nathan. He is an experienced player and should have known better.

"Wolves are a very good team and to be 10 against 11 for so long was a massive ask of our team.

"But I just felt that if we got to half-time 0-0 you could just sense that the crowd was getting a bit frustrated. We had hit the bar ourselves and it could have been a different story.

"That goal on the stroke of half-time was a crushing blow for morale.

"But in the second-half we stuck to our jobs and I don't think you could fault the effort of the players.

"We just needed one of those chances that hit the bar and the post to go in because if they had we could have opened up and had a real go at them towards the end of the game.

"At 2-0 there were a lot of tired legs out there and it was important that we didn't go and get beat 3-0 or 4-0 because that can knock confidence if it does happen.

"But I could not have asked for any more from the players I thought they were outstanding.

"Some of the blocks and last ditch challenges were absolutely superb."


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