NEW City goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been tipped for a massive future – and will flourish on the Valley Parade stage.
That is the view of former Bantams boss Nicky Law, who gave the Sunderland youngster one of his earliest breaks in the senior game.
Pickford has been installed as City's number one for the approaching campaign and Jon McLaughlin yesterday officially left the club.
McLaughlin, 26, made 145 appearances after signing in May 2008 and was an ever-present last season in League One.
He had continued to train with City in pre-season despite turning down an initial contract offer. McLaughlin will now sign for Burton.
Law, the long-serving manager of Conference outfit Alfreton, recruited Pickford on loan as a raw 18-year-old when Martin O'Neill was Sunderland boss and was wowed by the youngster's performances.
He is convinced that the England under-19 stopper has all the attributes to take his former club by storm this season.
Law, who left Valley Parade in 2003, said: "Jordan plays above his years. Nothing fazes him.
"Going into that league at 18 was tough but he was never worried. He came in and was brilliant.
"He's a great shot stopper, he's as brave as a lion, he organises the defence – and his kicking is as good as I've seen.
"He can literally kick it out the end of the pitch. It's immense. He's a very good all-round keeper."
Pickford, now 20, caught City's attention last season when he was loaned out to Burton and then Carlisle. Law was happy to provide Phil Parkinson with a glowing endorsement.
He explained: "I said the same when Phil rang me about him as I did to (Burton boss) Gary Rowett. Taking Jordan is an absolute no brainer – don't even hesitate.
"Goalkeepers mature with age but I don't mind going with young kids if you are brave enough to do it. I'd rather have a good 19 or 20-year-old than a 35-year-old has-been.
"It will be good for Jordan to be playing at a big stadium with decent crowds. It won't faze him at all.
"When he came here, he probably had a little bit of immaturity about him. But he grew up when he played meaningful football rather than development games when he might lose concentration.
"He will make mistakes – the same as every keeper. He might cost you half a dozen goals in the season but he will save you a hell of a lot more."
Sunderland have nailed down the youngster for the long term with a four-year contract he penned only last month. Law believes a season with the Bantams can only accelerate his progress at the Premier League club.
He said: "I don't think Sunderland would be letting him out if they don't feel it's the next stage of his development. This is a great opportunity at a big club.
"He was behind Simon Mignolet, before he went to Liverpool, and now Kieron Westwood – but you don't get a four-year contract if they don't rate him.
"You can see he's got a massive future ahead. From my experience, I can't rate him highly enough."