James Hanson was today backed to make the jump to League One as City return to his part-time roots.

City kick-off their pre-season this afternoon at Guiseley, the club Han-son left four years ago for Valley Parade for a £7,500 snip.

The targetman is coming off his best season in the pro ranks, supplying 15 goals and ten assists as the Bantams finally clambered out of the fourth tier.

And Wayne Jacobs thinks it is the perfect moment to show that he can cut it at the next level.

Jacobs said: “James has grown as a player in the last year and I hope to see him grow again.

“It’s a good time for his development that he’s going up a division. It’s now going to be a test in League One.

“People inside football circles have always said he is capable of playing at the next level so here’s his chance. I’m one of those who believe he can.”

Jacobs was Stuart McCall’s number two when Hanson was plucked from non-league and has followed his progress intently. The City legend believes his performances last season answered any lingering doubts among the critics.

“James got the plaudits in his first season as often happens but then he dropped a bit in the second and there were question marks over why. Different people had different opin-ions.

“But I felt at the beginning of last season, everyone was looking at James. Every side has a backbone and he had to earn his place – I think he did that.

“There was a time in the season when the goals dried up and there were one or two murmurs. I was really disappointed to hear them because every striker goes through that.

“Then he gets his big goal at Aston Villa and what that meant to him as a Bradford lad against that opposition and what it did for the club was amazing.

“It was nothing more than he had deserved. He proved he can be part of that very strong backbone.”

With 59 appearances, Hanson played the most games of anyone during City’s epic campaign. His value to the team was seen at both ends of the pitch.

Jacobs said: “The big man is worth his weight in gold and does his job defending too.

“When I was part of the set-up, there were games when you couldn’t bring him off or you’d be a man down at set-plays. That’s why he gets a lot of playing time.

“James never has a game when you think he hasn’t given 100 per cent. You know what you’ll get from him.

“Yes, he’s got some things to learn from a technical point of view like how he uses his body a little bit more.

“We all know James has got a fabulous jump and dominates a lot of centre halves. We saw him do that to (Per) Mertesacker against Arsenal.

“But there’s a time when you can be a little bit cute and use your body just to hold somebody off. That part of his game needs to kick in a little bit more now and I’m sure it will.

“It doesn’t get better than two cup final appearances for his hometown club and a goal at Wembley. I’m absolutely delighted for him and know he’s ready to take the next step.”

* Jacobs is taking part in a question-and-answer session at the Arena Sports Bar from 8pm to 10pm tonight to raise money for the One in a Million charity.