The Only Way is Up - and with less that 24 hours to the Bantams' crunch match, the city is gripped by football fever.

Even the Provost of Bradford will be among thousands of fans at Valley Parade tomorrow as City take on Oxford.

If City win tomorrow's match and Ipswich lose on Sunday, the Bantams will take second place in Division One, a guaranteed passport to the Premier League next season.

The Bantams flag is flying over City Hall as a gesture of support from civic leaders. They say seeing Bradford City in the Premiership would be a boost for the club and the whole district.

And the T&A's The Only Way Is Up! campaign has caught the imagination of folk throughout the city.

Provost of Bradford, the Very Rev John Richardson, said: "I will be saying my prayers and shouting the team on. When the team is up, the city is up, and when the team is down, the city is down. Economic regeneration and national image is all about our sporting teams doing well."

Councillor Dave Green, who chairs Bradford Council's Regeneration Committee, said: "Bradford is undergoing a continuing regeneration and promotion for the Bantams would, I have no doubt, help boost the city's profile among investors and businesses. Let's back the team and Bradford's bid for Premiership status."

David Wilkinson, chief executive at Bradford Training and Enterprise Council, said: "I look forward to the UK seeing Bradford as a Premier division city at 4.45pm every Saturday teatime. That alone will have a significant impact on the external perception of our district."

Suzanne Ljubojevic, who works at the club shop at Valley Parade, said: "Customers are coming into the shop and you can sense their excitement - and their anxiety. Working here you try to stay focused, but when there's a situation like this it's hard. It's really exciting."

Businesses throughout the city welcome the positive image Bradford City's football is giving the district, said Sandy Needham, director of Bradford Chamber of Commerce.

"Sporting success makes people feel more positive about their area and boosts the image of Bradford. A lot of success comes around a feeling of more confidence."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.