ECCLESHILL United will be facing a much stronger Bradford City side in Wednesday's friendly encounter after the Bantams' hierarchy were impressed with the facilities and pitch at the Eagles' Mitton Group Stadium.

The Toolstation Northern Counties East club's secretary Brian Bell said: "We had a visit from Greg Abbott (head of recruitment) and he liked what he saw and said that he and Stuart (McCall) would be making changes.

"Bradford City were going to send their first team to Guiseley tomorrow (Tuesday) and bring their development squad to us the day after.

"After having a look around, he said that there would be a rethink and he told us that they would mix the sides for the two games.

"That means that a much stronger City squad will be coming to our place and it will involve some first-team players.

"They are going to split the game time for their first team between Guiseley and us over the two midweek days."

The Bantams have since confirmed that first-team players will be involved in both games, which could make a significant difference to the number of supporters through the turnstiles and, consequently, the amount of funds Eccleshill will raise.

Pre-season friendly fixtures against neighbouring Football League sides generate income that is a lifeline for non-League clubs.

Bell said: "The news was a massive boost to our club and we look forward to having Bradford City down here as most of our fans are big City supporters – and it will be good that Stuart is definitely coming.

"When it was down as a game for City's under-23s development side, it wasn't a given that Stuart would be here. But now he's expected at both games, from what we understand after Greg's visit."

Former Bantams midfielder Abbott had a spell as player/manger at Thackley after he left Valley Parade so knows all about the finances at the local clubs. He is also a long-term friend of the Bantams boss.

Bell said: "What swayed it was the excellent condition of our pitch and as soon as he saw that – and the rest of our facilities – Greg said that Stuart would like it.

"It's probably the best-kept non-League pitch at our level and that's down to the great efforts of our volunteers."