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4 August 2023

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Mark Hughes is encouraged with how his Bantams have prepared for the 2023/24 Sky Bet League Two campaign, and believes City are ready for their season opener at Crawley Town tomorrow.

The City boss is pleased with how his summer recruits have settled in at the University of Bradford Stadium while also lauding how the flexibility and strength of his squad's depth has improved.

“Everyone here is all encouraged about what we have seen so far,” he said.

“In terms of recruitment, the new lads have been integrated really quickly and have added to what we had last year.

“We hope the progress we have made so far, on and off the pitch, equates to a strong start.

“We have a number of away games to begin the season, which will challenge us naturally. Our away form last year was really impressive though, so that should not deter us in our attitude and conduct.

“We are looking forward to it. There is a lot of excitement around the group at the moment.

“It is a new season, a fresh start for everybody - we cannot wait to get started.

“With how we have built the squad this season, we have more flexibility.

“What I like to have, is more options before or during a game - so that is encouraging for me.

“I have a good options for the starting squad, as well as players who can come on and change the game with quality.

“One of our strengths last year was our depth and I feel like that has improved this year.

“Of course, that flexibility has not been tested yet, so that will be assessed a few months into the season, but I am encouraged.”

The Welshman discussed how his Bantams can utilise last season’s play-off disappointment to their advantage and, as Hughes reaffirmed, “the endgame is to get promotion out of this division”.

He assessed the threat of City's West Sussex opponents but insisted his Bantams have to concentrate on their own output, as Hughes hopes to maintain the positive atmosphere with three points in the south.

“The season obviously did not end as we would have liked, and there is always going to be that disappointment of losing in the play-offs,” Hughes added.

“For the most part, we had a successful campaign last year, and the players that were here can take immense pride from that, and now they can adapt and learn from falling at the final hurdle.

“The endgame has always been, and will still be, to get out of this division. That is the challenge once again and we will give it our best.

“Like a lot of teams in this division, they have had a lot of personnel change - they may be going through a process of bedding in their recruits still.

“Having watched their pre-season games, we can see Crawley are looking to play the ball on the ground, from the back.

“We cannot focus on them too much, and as always, we have to concentrate on what we do.

“A win will settle everybody down and will allow us to build on this excitement we have brewing at the moment.

“Our intention is to go in with a really positive attitude and take the three points back with us.”

Tickets will be available on the day at the Broadfield Stadium, with less than 300 left. CLICK HERE for full details. 

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