Jon McLaughlin says promotion to League One has made him feel like a “proper” footballer.

The City keeper can appreciate the improved surroundings more than anyone after being with the club right through their long spell stuck in the basement.

McLaughlin has made a solid start with two clean sheets from the first four games but believes he still has to convince Phil Parkinson that he is the number one.

It is a challenge he is clearly relishing.

McLaughlin said: “It is a better standard in every sense and we’re going to really enjoy this year. It’s great to have finally been able to push out of League Two.

“It makes you feel a little more like a proper player when you start moving up the leagues.

“I can imagine that going into the Championship would be amazing. You look at their players and think ‘wow, they are good’ and then think that they are only one division above us.

“They could get relegated or we are promoted and we’re in there with them. You can associate more with the next league and it helps to make you see yourself as an all-round better player.

“It’s the same with the club. Even though we’ve only moved up once, people will look at us differently.

“They’ll not think that we’re in a bad state anymore or one that’s fallen on hard times. They now see us as a big club going the right way.

“It’s not just with all the glory that came last year with the cup final, but moving into this league with the likes of Wolves and Coventry and other big teams. It can only be good.”

McLaughlin shared keeping duties with Matt Duke last term – they both started 32 games – but has got the nod over on-loan Connor Ripley between the sticks so far.

He knows there is no room for complacency about his role – a stance he has become familiar with under various Bantams bosses.

“You’re always trying to prove yourself, maybe more than other people at other clubs,” he added.

“Playing for a big club and with the way people want to make squads as strong as they possibly can, you’re always fighting for the position.

“It’s an incentive because I want to play every game and want people to feel confident with me.

“It drives you on week in, week out, season on season to be the best goalkeeper you can and keep that shirt.

“You can’t look any further than what’s happening right now. Play well in the next game and that will keep you in the shirt for the one after that.

“There’s no point in me getting in a flap wondering ‘do they think I’m the number one?’

“That doesn’t matter. All I can concentrate on is working hard in training during the week and playing well on a Saturday or Tuesday night.”

While City have set off like a train at home, the last away game ended in narrow defeat at Port Vale – the only setback since promotion.

As they hit the road again for Stevenage, McLaughlin said: “That was a game we knew we should be winning.

“Port Vale finished above us last season but I definitely think we are a stronger team. We’ll finish a lot higher than them in this league.”