LATICS booked their place in the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy with a well-deserved 1-0 victory at Bradford.

The only surprise was that they didn’t add to Tope Obadeyi’s early strike.

An indication of quite how seriously the Bantams took this encounter may point to the fact that manager Stuart McCall was nowhere to be seen on the Bradford bench.

It was chilly, I suppose.

Latics wasted no time in making their intentions known in this much-maligned competition and now find themselves just three games from Wembley.

Obadeyi, among six changes to the starting line-up from Saturday, received the ball wide on the right, cut inside onto his left foot at pace and drilled a lovely low shot into the far corner with only three minutes on the clock.

Sometimes when managers make that many alterations, it can be difficult for the team to gel. Yet we saw the opposite here.

Despite the new-look side – and formation, Athletic operating in a 4-1-4-1 – Richie Wellens’ men were soon, pleasingly, into their familiar passing groove at an incredibly sparse Valley Parade.

Obadeyi was particularly heavily involved in the early stages, enjoying raid after raid down that right-hand side. It was the stuff of nightmares for City left-back Luke Hendrie, who was really being given a torrid time. He was later switched to the other flank.

At times you could hear a pin-drop in this wide-open stadium – that was largely due to the away side’s dominance, as well as the modest crowd.

Some 25 minutes had passed before Bradford fashioned their first shot when Alex Gilliead let fly but Johny Placide was down smartly to gather.

Latics weren’t frightened to shoot – often from distance – all night.

Ryan Flynn came closest when he tried his luck with a long-range effort which whistled wide 10 minutes before the break. When they did move in closer to goal, the hosts’ defence looked panicked.

Paul Green had the final say of the first-half when he moved into the box and unleashed a fierce drive which Lukas Raeder could only beat away with his fists.

Former Latics striker Dominic Poleon was introduced at the start of the second half and he fired an early warning sign with a snapshot straight at Placide. The offside flag was up in any case.

Bradford were slowly feeling their way into the game and enjoyed plenty of possession without really hurting their opponents.

Wellens introduced Ousmane Fane on 68 minutes and he was quickly into the action, feeding Gevaro Nepomuceno on the left side of the box. He jinked his way inside but was closed down before he could get a shot away. Instead the ball fell to Eoin Doyle but his effort was too high.

Dan Gardner was replaced by Abdelhakim Omrani with nine minutes left but he just had enough time to hit a swerving left-foot volley which screwed agonisingly wide.

Obadeyi placed a shot against the post with a minute to go. While at the other end, Bradford substitute Paul Taylor put a decent effort off target as City sniffed for an equaliser that never came.

LATICS (4-1-4-1): Placide, Dummigan, Gerrard, Bryan, Brian Wilson; Green; Gardner (Omrani 81), Nepomuceno (McLaughlin 77), Flynn (Fane 68), Obadeyi; Doyle. Subs (not used): Ben Wilson, Davies, Menig, Clarke. Booked: Green.

Attendance: 1,036 (150 away).