PHIL Parkinson surveyed City’s opening fixtures with optimism yesterday and then spoke of the importance of assembling a squad capable of improving on last season’s 11th-placed finish.

The Bantams will host former Premier League outfit Coventry at Valley Parade in their first match of the Sky Bet League One season on Saturday, August 9.

After a trip to Morecambe in the Capital One Cup four days later, Parkinson’s men face two more away trips to Walsall and Crawley before a home clash with big-spending Peterborough on August 23.

The second round of the Capital One Cup then takes place before a short trip to Rochdale on August 30 to complete a hectic opening month.

Parkinson is happy to face Steve Pressley’s side at home in the opening game after last year’s stormy 3-3 draw, when Nahki Wells plundered a hat-trick in the televised clash.

The City boss said: “I’m pleased to be at home in the opening game and I think the fans will look forward to starting the season at Valley Parade.

“Coventry are a big club in this division and we had an excellent game against them last year.

“Overall, the start looks reasonable and there are some good fixtures for us.

“At the end of the day you’ve got to play everyone home and away, so I’ve no complaints.

“We had a good start at home last year and will be aiming to do that again.

“But that will be determined by the squad that we can piece together by August 9.”

Parkinson is keen to add to his ranks after a number of departures since the end of last season and with question marks still hanging over the future of out-of-contract trio Jon McLaughlin, Raffaele De Vita and James Meredith.

Parkinson admitted: “My job now, as it has been all summer, is to make sure we get a squad in place which is competitive enough to take us forward through the season.

“That’s what I’m endeavouring to do. I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and August 9 to mould the team and the squad into shape so we can be as competitive as we were last season.

“We are short on numbers if you look through the ranks but I’ve been in situations where I have had less players at this stage of pre-season.

“I’m not overly concerned but it’s just a case of making the right decisions with the money we’ve got available.

“That’s what we’re trying to do – balance everything out such as the signing of Gary Liddle who gives us versatility because those type of players are going to be important this year.

“If you look at the squad size right now, it’s not enough so we’ve got a few more to get in.”

Parkinson added that no agreement had yet been reached with McLaughlin, De Vita and Meredith over a new contract.