Manager Ian Banks is predicting big changes at Eccleshill United which will lead to huge competition for places this season.

The former Bantams player is also a coach at the Richmond International Academic and Soccer Acad-emy (RIASA), based in Leeds and run by Mark Ellis.

The ex-City winger is also the director of football at Eccleshill and, with Banks in charge of the team, it was always the intention to get the cream of the academy students playing for the Eagles.

Banks said: “The only reason I took the Eccleshill United job was to work with the RIASA lads and finally that looks like its going to happen. Now that we have got the go-ahead from the FA we can bring them into the squad.

“I have been waiting two years for this opportunity and I think it will be good for everybody. The RIASA lads will get a better standard of football, the established Eccleshill players will improve from working alongside the lads from the academy and the club will never be short of players.

“We don’t want to push any of last year’s players out but we want them to try harder, knowing that there are 28 American lads who can take their place.”

The RIASA players, mainly recruited from the USA but also from other countries, were first introduced by the Eagles over two years ago when Joey Spivack, Nahki Wells and goalkeeper Thaj Bell first came over.

The FA blocked them from being selected, claiming they may have been putting the legality of their stay with student visas under threat.

Players drifted into the West Yorkshire League as they could only compete in the amateur ranks, rather than semi-professional.

Wells went on to earn a professional contract with City and Spivack signed for a club in Finland.

The players were allowed to leave the RIASA Academy and get a working visa if they were offered a contract.

That did not help Eccleshill as the intermediate club in the chain but permission has now been granted for the student players to represent them.

Banks said: “We had a decent season and we hope to build on that now.

“Last term was frustrating, especially away midweek games when we had to go with just one substitute and sometimes with three or four carrying knocks.

“That should be a thing of the past now because we will never be short of players.

“The American lads would have been sat around wishing they could have had a game. They will be involved now we can pick them and they will be looking to earn regular places.

“We’re not looking for ten or 11 players but we will see what RIASA can provide.

“One thing about the Americans is that they are brought up to play football so they all have good technical ability. There are also a few at the moment with real pace about them.

“They won’t all be ready for the demands of this league but some will be and, if they do well, they won’t be held back.

“Nahki and the two lads in Finland (Spivack being one) have all gone on into the full-time game already.”