The Bantams raise the curtain on their 2019/20 Sky Bet League Two campaign tomorrow (Saturday), playing host to Cambridge United.
After a busy pre-season schedule, City welcome the Cambridgeshire outfit to the newly-named Utilita Energy Stadium, with the action set to get underway from 3.00pm.
After relegation to the fourth tier at the end of last season, Gary Bowyer’s men will be looking to bounce back at the first attempt.
Meanwhile the U’s will be hoping for a more successful campaign this time around, having finished just two places clear of the League Two relegation zone last season - in 21st.
With over 13,500 season tickets sold ahead of the new season, the Bantams will be looking to use the home support to their advantage to get their 2019/20 campaign off to a strong start.
City: Having made no less than 10 singings in the summer transfer window thus far, the season opener will likely spell the introduction of a new-look City side.
New club captain James Vaughan - an acquisition from Wigan Athletic - will be in line to lead the Bantams out for the first time against Cambridge.
And - following impressive pre-season performances - the likes of Clayton Donaldson, Jackson Longridge, Matt Palmer, Adam Henley and Ben Richards-Everton will all be hoping to feature.
Cambridge: Like City, Colin Calderwood has been a busy man with regards to summer singings this transfer window.
The Cambridge boss could hand as many as six new recruits their debuts for the club.
New signing Harvey Knibbs is sidelined with a heel injury, but Andy Dallas, Dan Jones, Kyle Knoyle, Luke Hannant, Callum Burton and Sam Smith could all be in line to start.
City: The Bantams returned to pre-season training on June 24 and have since completed a detailed programme with a variety of different sessions and, of course, pre-season friendlies.
In seven pre-season outings, City suffered only one defeat - against European champions Liverpool FC - in a contest played at the Utilita Energy Stadium in aid of the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.
Gary Bowyer’s men drew 1-1 at home to second-tier Wigan Athletic as well as a 1-0 win over Sky Bet League One outfit Rochdale - in a match abandoned at half-time due to adverse weather conditions.
Victories in annual trips to Eccleshill United, Bradford (Park Avenue) and Guiseley were complimented by a triumph at Brighouse Town.
Cambridge: With regards to results in their pre-season friendlies, Cambridge have also enjoyed a successful campaign.
The U’s recorded a 3-1 victory away at Sky Bet Championship team Fulham on top of credible draws with Nottingham Forest (2-2) and Ipswich Town (0-0).
A tour of Scotland included a 3-2 victory over Heart of Midlothian in addition to fixtures against St Neots and a Rangers XI.
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAID
Gary Bowyer: “We are fully aware of the challenge Cambridge will pose and cannot wait to be back out there in front of our incredible supporters.
“I have no doubt there will be periods where we will be under the cosh a bit and we might need the fans’ support to keep us going against Cambridge.
“It is a two-way thing. We hope to give our fantastic supporters things to cheer about this season and hope they can back us all the way, in return.
“Cambridge have a very experienced manager and will be a very well-drilled side. We have done a lot of work on them and are looking forward to the test.”
Colin Calderwood: “We are really looking forward to the beginning of the season. We are always keen to experience the difference between pre-season and a competitive game.
“I think this weekend’s game will provide us with a great test and will be up there with the most challenging we face this season.
“We are hoping for a good marker in terms of working out how close we are to a team who will undoubtedly be one of the favourites in the division.”
LAST TIME OUT
City’s last meeting with Cambridge came at the Utilita Energy Stadium in the second round of the EFL Trophy in December 2016.
The hosts were victorious thanks a to second half strike from Nicky Law.
Bradford City 1 (Nicky Law 64’)
Cambridge United 0
Wednesday December 7, 2016
City: Rouven Sattelmaier; Stephen Darby (c) (Tony McMahon, booked 83'), Nathan Clarke (booked 74'), Rory McArdle, Matt Kilgallon; Matt Marshall, Tim Dieng (Danny Devine 45'), Nicky Law, Filipe Morais; Haris Vuckic (Josh Cullen 64'); Jordy Hiwula. SUBS (not used): Colin Doyle, Mark McNulty, James King, Ellis Hudson.
Cambridge: Will Norris; Sean Long (Leon Davies 20'), Leon Legge (c), Thomas Dallison-Lisbon, Blair Adams; Piero Mingoia (Uche Ikpeazu 56'), James Dunne, George Maris (Luke Berry 57'), Max Clarke; Ben Williamson, Harrison Dunk. SUBS (not used): Greg Taylor, Mark Roberts, David Gregory, Connor Newton.
Tomorrow's match will spell the first time City have hosted Cambridge in a league game since February 1995 when both sides were in the third division.
The U's have opened their season away in BD8 on two previous occasions, losing 4-0 to City in 1977 and 2-0 in 1984.
Tomorrow’s referee Ollie Yates took charge of two City games last season, including a 0-0 draw at home to Bristol Rovers on September 27 and a 1-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood Town on February 9.
Over these two games, the Staffordshire official dished out a combined total of nine bookings.
His two assistants for our meeting with Cambridge will be Matthew Smith and Joe Simpson, with Andrew Dallison named as fourth official.
Supporters unable to make it to the Utilita Energy Stadium this Saturday can follow live match action via the club’s official Twitter page.
The live feed will provide minute-by-minute coverage of the clash in addition to updates on other social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram.
Full audio match commentary is available to iFollow Bantams subscribers, while BBC Radio Leeds’ Tim Steere and Andy Kiwomya will provide live radio commentary at 774 kHz on FM and DAB.
IFollow subscribers can also catch all the reaction with post-match interviews and content, while supporters based outside the UK with a package can even tune into a live video stream!
BACK THE BAMTAMS - WITH SKY BET
City supporters can back the Bantams for victory this weekend with Sky Bet.
Gary Bowyer’s men are currently placed as heavy favourites by the bookmaker - priced at 17/20 to be victorious after 90 minutes.
James Vaughan, Eoin Doyle and Clayton Donaldson are all odds-on to open the scoring for the Bantams, with each forward ranked as equal 9/2 favourite.
City fans can place their bets by CLICKING HERE.
Odds are subject to change.
The Bantams will line up in their new 2019/20 claret and amber-striped home shirt tomorrow afternoon, with their visitors wearing their change strip of white with blue trim.
City: Claret and Amber / Black / Black
Cambridge: White and Sky Blue / Navy / White