James Hanson today set his sights on crowning his new contract with promotion to the Championship.

Hanson highlighted Phil Parkinson’s leadership as the biggest reason behind his decision to sign a new deal with his hometown club.

The City boss has been a huge influence in his development from a raw frontman plucked from non-league into one of the most admired centre forwards in the lower divisions.

And Hanson, who committed himself to Valley Parade until July 2017, believes he can continue to build his game and spearhead the Bantams up another level.

He said: “If we can keep improving as a team, then the aim is to get into the Championship.

“That would sum up a perfect season for me, signing a new deal and then getting promoted. It would be a great achievement but we’ve got to kick on.

“That’s the aim. You look back when the gaffer first came in and how much he’s improved me and the rest of the lads.

“You wouldn’t really want to go anywhere else because this club is going to take off.”

With so many in the squad out of contract next summer, Hanson is the first to put pen to paper. City felt it was vital to get the striker tied down first.

Parkinson said: “James said to me from the start that he would like to stay. He never for one minute wanted to move or had his eyes on something else.

“Contracts do take time but I think it’s fair for all parties.

“It’s important that we keep our best players. It would have reflected poorly on the club if James’s contract had gone the rest of the season and we had lost him for free.

“I still think he’s under-rated with what he brings to the team in terms of all-round play.

“His honesty and commitment is very good and he will sacrifice himself at times for the good of the team.

“To get a forward who’s prepared to do that has been a pivotal reason behind our success.”

Hanson was sounded out about a new contract in the summer and he was delighted to finally get it sorted as the season heads towards halfway.

He added: “Maybe they just waited to see how I started in League One before we got the ball rolling.

“Sometimes I felt it was going to be a week by week thing based on how I performed. That shouldn’t really be the case but it’s done now and there’s nothing playing on my mind.”

Hanson’s performances have not gone unnoticed around the division. Parkinson is well used to the plaudits thrown at his centre forward by rival managers.

He added: “There would have been no shortage of takers for James Hanson come the summer. I can guarantee that.

“At his best, he can be unplayable in terms of his physical presence and his ability to jump fairly.

“I’ve got to stress that he has got a lot of work ahead of him. We’ll keep pushing him and he’s got to keep pushing himself to get better and better.

“His improvement over the last couple of years has been good and he’s got to keep doing that.

“I sat down with Julian (Rhodes) and Mark (Lawn) a couple of months ago to talk about James. We decided to get his contract done first and then review where we are with the others.

“We’re a club that have got to look to build for the future. Signing James is a statement of intent.”

Winger Kyel Reid sees Hanson as a “massive attribute” to the club.

“You can see how much he does for us,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anyone else in this team who can do some of those things.

“Sometimes I’ll watch Hans win a header and just think ‘wow, how did he manage to get up there’.“