Jason Kennedy relished his Bantams reunion with Gary Jones and declared: He’s my inspiration.

The former Rochdale midfielder yesterday became Phil Parkinson’s first summer capture when he signed a two-year deal.

And to complete a good news day for the fans, Carl McHugh last night penned a new contract to tie him down for a further season.

The promising Republic of Ireland under-21 defender, who started 22 games in his debut year, has been training with the squad as normal while his future was sorted.

New capture Kennedy, 26, joins the growing clan of Rochdale old boys at Valley Parade – and rekindles a midfield partnership with Spotland legend Gary Jones.

He played 193 games in four seasons with Dale and most of them were alongside the evergreen City skipper.

Kennedy said: “I was young when I first went there and Gary was like a mentor to me. I played with him for three years.

“You look at him and he’s a machine. He’s a true professional who does everything right. He just keeps on going, the same old Jonah. When he was at Rochdale, he was always at the front leading the pack and setting the example.

“He’s a brilliant player to work with and knows how to approach the game whatever the situation.

“I learned a lot from him with his experience and aspire to be as successful as he has been in his career.”

Kennedy almost joined City during the January transfer window but the move collapsed late on deadline day. They pipped Colin Cooper’s Hartlepool for his signature after he rejected the chance to stay with Rochdale.

Jones also played a part, making a persuasive case to his old team-mate to make the switch across the Pennines.

Kennedy, who scored seven goals last season, added: “I spoke to Jonah and he just said ‘you need to come here’. He described how the club are going in the right direction and how much I’d enjoy working with the gaffer – he sold it really well.

“The move has run smoothly and I know a lot of the lads. Obviously some were at Rochdale, I was with Dava (Andrew Davies) and Nick Allamby at Middlesbrough and I also know Ricky Ravenhill.

“So coming in has been quite easy and I feel quite comfortable here already. I think I’ll fit in really well.”

Parkinson was delighted to land his man – even if he had to wait an extra six months to do so after Rochdale’s mid-season change of manager complicated matters.

“It didn’t quite happen in January,” said the City chief. “I’d agreed it with John Coleman and then Keith Hill came back and didn’t want to let him go.

“They tried to keep Jason but we’ve waited patiently to the summer to bring him in. He’s got that desire to be with this club and will be a good addition.”

Parkinson has further targets in his sights and could seal another deal within the next few days.

“There is a possibility of closing one maybe this week but we haven’t got loads and loads to do. We just want to make sure we bring in the right people.”