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Rhodes expects ‘decent budget’ to net Bantams decent season
City will have “no excuses” for not mounting a proper challenge in their sixth season in football’s basement.
Julian Rhodes hopes the playing budget could be among the top eight in League Two – and is confident that Phil Parkinson can deliver.
Having taken the helm so early last term, Parkinson has had a good chance to assess the areas that need to be improved. Another striker, a right winger and central defence are positions likely to be looked at over the summer.
Joint-chairman Rhodes said: “Phil’s advantage is that he’s had time to get to know what the club are all about. He’s in a strong position because he knows what he needs in the squad.
“Look at his managerial record previously and he’s normally done pretty well when he’s had a pre-season.
“We aren’t expecting a slow start to next season. We want them to come out firing on all four cylinders.”
One place where we’re lucky is having the likes of Hanson and Wells under contract. I think they could be the best strike partnership in the divisionJulian Rhodes
Front duo Nahki Wells and James Hanson will be key to City’s form next season as well as winger Kyel Reid, who was Parkinson’s first capture on the day he took over.
Rhodes added: “There will be no excuses. The budget will be decent, though it won’t be as much as this last season.
“We can’t afford that but I’d be very surprised if it was not top seven or eight.
“One place where we’re lucky is having the likes of Hanson and Wells under contract. I think they could be the best strike partnership in the division next season.
“How much are those two worth in the market? But we don’t have to pay any transfer fees for them.
“We’ve also got Reid tied up for next season and he’s probably as good a winger as any at this level. So it’s a good start.” Parkinson has already assured supporters that the club’s prize assets will not be going anywhere.
Given City’s league status, that may not be a cast-iron certainty but Rhodes is optimistic they will be leading the line again in August.
“You can never say never in football but the plan is that they are all here for next season.
“Look at any game when we’ve had Hanson, Wells and Reid in the team and I think you’ll find we’ve done very well. Signing Reid was the turning point after our terrible start. He gave us the ability to put the opposition on the back foot.
“He can be frustrating but most of the time he does things. He ended up with 12 assists and four goals so he does produce.
“I’d personally love to see him on one side and Omar Daley on the other but the manager may not think the same.”
Parkinson will kick off next term with a smaller squad of 20 to 22. A cull of the fringe players has already begun with others, who are not likely to feature in his thoughts, told to look for new clubs even though they are still tied to City for next year.
Lower down the scale, striker Adam Baker was the only trainee to be taken on and the development squad has been shelved.
Rhodes said: “Phil wants to do the Bury model as I call it with 20 first-team players and two for most positions.
“In recent years, we’ve had to go into the loan market if the main one gets injured because the second player isn’t good enough. Unfortunately the loans haven’t particularly been any better.
“One thing I don’t want to end up doing is keep paying people to leave.
“We’ve had to do that with development squad and young players and we’re going to have to do the same with some of the first team that we signed last summer.
“I’m not going into names but some clearly weren’t good enough. It’s not their fault but most people should have been able to see that in the first few games.
“There will be a different ethos with no development squad or anything like that. All the money for the budget will genuinely be (spent) on the first team.”