After being relegated to League Two after a catastrophic campaign, Bradford City will be looking to bounce back up to League One at the first time of asking next season.
The Bantams, despite being there or thereabouts in the race for promotion over the last few years, were the first team to be relegated from the third tier this season, having won just 10 games all season.
Gary Bowyer has tried to install some belief into his squad, but despite showing signs of promise in the early stages of his tenure, he will now be looking to get them promoted at the first time of asking next term.
We recently spoke to former City defender Stephen Warnock, who is a man that will know about the club’s off-field problems in recent years. He insisted that Bowyer is “more than capable” of leading the Bantams to promotion from League Two, having done so under much worse conditions at Blackpool in 2017.
The EFL on Quest pundit told us exclusively: “It depends what he gets given – it depends what funds he gets given to reinvest into the squad and to get them out of that league straight away.
“It depends how much backing from the fans he gets as well, it’s not about the team on the pitch, it has to be a collective thing.
“But Gary is more than capable of doing it. He’s a good manager who went into tough circumstances at Blackpool, and although it hasn’t worked out for him at Bradford as of yet, he’ll argue that it’s not his squad.
“But there will be players that step out of League One next season to go and play for them, as it is a massive club.”
Arguably, City should have gone for an experienced manager at the start of the season, rather than appointing former youth team coach Michael Collins in the summer.
The former midfielder had been impressive at the helm of the club’s under-18 side, but was subsequently sacked after just six league games this season.
David Hopkin then stepped in, but even he couldn’t stop the rot that the club were stuck in.
Warnock said: “I think it was a massive gamble putting Michael Collins in charge at the start of the season – not one that was the wrong appointment, but it was a gamble, for him to step up from youth team football.”
“He made big decisions to get rid of senior players like Matt Kilgallon, Colin Doyle and Tony McMahon. These are senior players in the dressing room, and as much as people say about needing players that get around the pitch, players like that are so important to set the standards around the training and around the building.”
“It is sad to see them go down, but things need to change drastically.”