Paul Jewell will put his close friendship with Sunderland boss Peter Reid aside for 90 minutes tonight as Bradford City look to bounce back into the automatic promotion places.

The Bantams boss is quick to praise his counterpart ahead of the top-of-the-table clash at Valley Parade and has revealed how the Scouse pair chatted regularly at the start of the season.

Jewell came under heavy pressure after City picked up just five points from their first seven league games.

However, a superb run in recent months means City are just three points behind second placed Ipswich with a game in hand and Jewell knows tonight's sell-out clash could prove vital.

He said: "A full house against a team at the top of the league - this is the sort of game that we all work towards and one I would love to be playing in.

"It will be good to see Reidy tonight. We both love football and the job and we will be sharing a drink after the game.

"At the start of the season when things weren't going so well, I spoke to him quite a bit. He just told me to keep believing in myself, keep working hard and that eventually it would turn round.

"I must say though that the closer we have got to them in the last few weeks, the less he has spoken to me!"

City will be without Peter Beagrie (calf) and Ashley Westwood (thigh) along with Gordon Watson after he received a knock at Barnsley although Stephen Wright is back in contention.

Former Sunderland player Jamie Lawrence is also available after shrugging off the back injury which made him a major doubt for last Saturday's visit to Port Vale.

Jewell is likely to hand a debut to new signing Dean Windass with Isaiah Rankin struggling to recover from injury.

The City manager said: "I have seen Sunderland a few times, they are very solid and work ever so hard. They are a great unit as a team and obviously have some fine players."

City: Walsh, Todd, Jacobs, McCall, Moore, O'Brien, Dreyer, Wright, Lawrence, McCall, Whalley, Blake, Mills, Windass, Rankin, Watson, Ramage, Edinho.

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