Julian Rhodes believes the presence of two strong characters can pull City out of their current rut.

The Bantams face fourth-placed Preston tomorrow in search of a first win in ten games – and first at Valley Parade since September.

Aaron Mclean will make his home debut and defensive lynchpin Andrew Davies could return from three months out after knee surgery.

Rhodes believes the A team of Aaron and Andrew will prove instrumental in reversing the slide.

City’s drop out of play-off contention followed the departure of Davies, who last played in a 2-0 victory at Walsall on October 5. They have won only once since.

Joint-chairman Rhodes said: “It’s no coincidence. Look back last season and even the season before and when he played we were a better team.

“Andrew was a huge signing for us and it was a massive disappointment when he got the injury. It’s a fact that things haven’t gone as well since that happened.

“But that’s what happens at any team if you lose your best players.

“I’m no medical expert but my understanding is that there’s no reason why he can’t come back the same player that he was.

“I think everybody knows Andrew’s mentality. He’ll be looking at the play-offs.

“Andrew could come back and we could win a couple and all of a sudden it is a different picture.”

Rhodes sees the capture of Mclean, who had a hand in both goals in last week’s fightback at Sheffield United, as a necessary pick-me-up for the squad in the wake of losing Nahki Wells.

He added: “Aaron coming in is a good signing. We’ve got someone in from the Premier League and he’s a big character.

“I think a lot of the lads were looking round thinking ‘we’re on a bad run, Nahki’s gone, what’s going to happen’.

“I like the way he took the number 21 shirt. He wants to fill his boots so he takes the same number – that’s brilliant.

“I know Phil spoke to a few other strikers and they were very nervous about trying to replace Nahki. Aaron on the other hand relishes the challenge.

“I like that in a striker. Half of Nahki’s success is down to his arrogance on the pitch.

“You can’t have a shrinking violet if you need someone to stick the ball in the back of the net.”