PHIL Parkinson has warned that City’s squad is still a “long way” from where he needs it to be heading into tomorrow’s League One opener at home to Coventry.
The Bantams boss has seen a raft of players depart since the end of last term and numbers remain worryingly low.
While pleased with the players he has recruited during the summer, Parkinson admitted he is desperate to add more new faces before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Parkinson signed goalkeeping duo Ben Williams and Matt Urwin and winger Mo Shariff on non-contract terms this week.
Another new face is also set to arrive on non-contract terms today but Parkinson said: “I don’t think we’re prepared as a squad.
“The physical preparation of the players we’ve got is good, apart from the injury setbacks to Oliver McBurnie (hamstring), Aaron Mclean (calf) and Lewis Clarkson (hamstring).
“But in terms of the squad, if you compare it with the squads we have had in the last two seasons, we are a long way away.
“We’ve got to be realistic and if you look at the size of the squad in terms of competition for places compared to what we’ve had in the last two years, then this isn’t good enough.
“But the ones we’ve brought in and the quality we’ve got is good, so we’ve got something to build on. But we need to build from here because standing still won’t be enough to mount a successful nine-month season.
“We can’t have a squad full of loan players and we still need a few of our own permanent signings.
“We targeted a few players to come in during the summer on long-term loans. For whatever reason, they haven’t quite fallen into place yet but there is the possibility they will do in the next week or so.”
Men who played a key role in the club’s glorious 2012-13 campaign, which saw City twice reach Wembley and win promotion, have gone.
The list of departures includes Jon McLaughlin, Garry Thompson, Matt Taylor, Matthew Bates, Carl McHugh, Kyel Reid, Nathan Doyle and Gary Jones, who yesterday agreed a one-year deal at League One rivals Notts County.
Parkinson is set to hand debuts to Alan Sheehan, Gary Liddle, Jordan Pickford, Billy Clarke and Billy Knott.
But the City boss, who has spent up to his summer budget, could struggle to fill his bench with senior players tomorrow.
He added: “The teams who ultimately do the best are the ones who have cover in all areas and competition for places.
“I’ve been looking at teams in pre-season and their substitutes because it’s the strength of the bench which can often determine how well a team will do.
“It’s obvious that we need that and I’m trying my best to make sure we get that – but it’s difficult.
“A lot can happen between now and the end of August so hopefully by that time we can have 20 players and we’re looking stronger.
“The reason we brought two more goalkeepers in is that the moment a player on non-contract terms gets an offer from elsewhere he can walk away.
“So because of that we signed Matt and Ben as we didn’t want to get to the Morecambe game next week, when Jordan can’t play, and be left without a keeper.
“I’m happy with the cover we have now in that area and the core of the squad is good.”
Mclean has been struggling with a calf problem during pre-season but Parkinson is hoping he will be fit enough for inclusion on the bench tomorrow, although fellow frontman McBurnie seems certain to miss out.
Parkinson added: “McBurnie looks like being out. We get him back for a couple of days but he keeps breaking down.
“Mclean has trained today and as far as I know there has been no reaction.
“We’ll have a look at that again tomorrow but he won’t be ready to start a game for a few weeks.”
City drew 3-3 with Coventry at home last season in a memorable clash and Parkinson is expecting another stern test.
He said: “That was a great game of football and a great advert for League One – entertaining with chances at both ends.
“They have signed some good players like Reda Johnson, Danny Pugh, Shaun Miller and Marcus Tudgay.
“They are rebuilding similar to ourselves and we’ve had them watched a couple of times in pre-season.
“We’ve got to concentrate on how we’re going to play and getting the best out of the players on the pitch.”