Nicky Law wants Peter Atherton to be his Stuart McCall.

City are hoping to persuade Atherton to stay on at Valley Parade, possibly for a couple more seasons.

Law sees the ultra-experienced 33-year-old as the right man to bring on the next generation of City stars.

McCall has successfully juggled playing and coaching roles since leaving the Bantams for Sheffield United. And Law believes Atherton, who is very popular in the dressing room, would be perfectly suited to do the same.

The City boss said: "Peter is so versatile and has a big influence on and off the pitch. He's a great person to have around the place and everybody respects him.

"He's got a very level head and I can see him going into coaching and possibly into management. That's why I tell him to make sure he does all the coaches badges.

"I see Peter as the ideal candidate to do what Stuart McCall has done at Sheffield United. As well as playing, Stuart has a hand in the reserves and working with the young boys and Peter should be doing a job like that.

"I think he's sincere and honest and you can trust the young ones with Pete. He's steady and doesn't do rash things, it is all calm and calculated and that's a great example to set."

Atherton, who played 25 games last season, has been the third highest earner on the books but City believe that a deal can be struck. The player is understood to be keen to stay.

Managing director Shaun Harvey said: "Discussions are on-going in a very sensible manner. All parties understand the position and I certainly haven't given up hope of Peter Atherton being a Bradford City player next season."

Law believes Atherton's experience will be crucial alongside the fit-again Tom Kearney in midfield.

He added: "Pete's had his injuries during the season but has still made a massive contribution. The young lads look up to him. He praises the lads and helps them along but he isn't scared to give them a rollicking when it's warranted.

"But like David Wetherall, you don't see him ranting and raving and pointing the finger. Everything is thought through and done in the proper way."

Meanwhile, according to reports in Scotland, City could face competition from Hearts for long-time goalkeeping target Alan Combe.