Julian Rhodes excited by Bradford City's war of the roses clashes next season (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Julian Rhodes excited by Bradford City's war of the roses clashes next season
6:57am Tuesday 17th June 2014 in Sport
JULIAN Rhodes is relishing the bunch of Roses clashes facing City in League One next season.
Bantams fans can look forward to matches against seven clubs from Yorkshire or Lancashire when the new fixture list is revealed tomorrow.
Throw in newly-promoted duo Chesterfield and Scunthorpe as well and there will be plenty of occasions when regional bragging rights are up for grabs.
City joint-chairman Rhodes said: "Put the money to one side. The atmosphere should be fantastic and I hope people are looking forward to some enjoyable games, whatever the result.
"I'm sure a lot of people who are flexi-card holders or didn't buy a ticket will be targeting the Yorkshire and Lancashire local derbies. I'm sure the attendances will be pretty good.
"It's always better if there is a big away following. The atmosphere last season was brilliant on the whole but it always enhances the place if there are more visiting fans there.
"You get a bit of banter and I think it rubs off on the players. You get a bit more needle out there, there are a few more challenges flying in and fans respond to that.
"But it does make it hard to accumulate points. If you look at it statistically over the years in divisions where there are a lot of local derbies, not many of those teams do well."
Next season's division has been dubbed League One North because of the number of teams from this end of the country.
City have lost rivals Rotherham from the fixture list after their play-off success but have gained Doncaster and Barnsley, two Yorkshire clubs relegated from the Championship.
All four teams coming up from League Two are also within close proximity – Scunthorpe, Chesterfield, Rochdale and Fleetwood.
With Sheffield United, Preston and Oldham as well, City's motorway mileage has been reduced by around 500 miles.
Rhodes said: "Don't get me wrong, we are losing Rotherham and Wolves, who both brought very large followings.
"We budgeted to be down by about ten per cent from last season. They were big games, in terms of crowd numbers, and we obviously did sell more season tickets on the back of two Wembley visits and a promotion.
"But there still aren't many League One clubs who generate over £2million in ticket revenue. We are forecasting that we will be one of those who will go over that barrier, just as we did last season."
Rotherham's visit has provided the highest attendance at Valley Parade for the past two years. A bumper crowd of 18,218 watched their 1-0 win in December.
City have played hosts on Boxing Day for the last three seasons and Rhodes admitted: "It's more important than being home on the opening day, although you'd ideally prefer it not to be a local game because you're going to get a good following whatever.
"We also don't want the derby games stuck on a Tuesday night."
* See City's 2014-15 League One fixtures on our website at telegraphandargus.co.uk from 9am tomorrow
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