MARK Lawn has reassured supporters that City will be a force to be reckoned with next season despite a flurry of departures since the end of last term.

Men who played a crucial role in the Bantams’ historic 2012-13 campaign, such as skipper Gary Jones, Kyel Reid, Nathan Doyle and Garry Thompson, have all left Valley Parade, while James Meredith’s time at the club is almost certainly over following the arrival of Alan Sheehan.

Matthew Bates and Carl McHugh have also departed and question marks surround the future of goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and midfielder Raffaele De Vita.

Yet boss Phil Parkinson has offset those departures with the acquisition of Matty Dolan, Billy Knott, Garry Liddle and Alan Sheehan.

And Lawn insists there are plenty more to come before City’s League One campaign kicks off at home to Coventry on August 9.

The joint-chairman said: “We’ve got a competitive budget so we’ll have a competitive squad – it’s as simple as that.

“I don’t understand why everyone is panicking over something which will be sorted out before the season gets underway.

“Obviously we are going to bring more players in because we’ve not got enough at present.

“We have a competitive budget this year which is higher than at least ten other clubs in League One this coming season.

“Last year’s budget was exceptional because we factored in Nahki Wells’ situation.

“It doesn’t mean that this year we won’t have a competitive budget because we will.

“People need to calm down a bit and not panic because there is still a long way to go before the season starts.

“I think we’re bringing in and improving the squad with the players we have signed.

“I think Phil has made some good decisions to bring in Liddle, Knott and Sheehan and re-signing Rory McArdle.

“We know we are light on certain numbers but we’re going to address that and try and improve on what we had last year.”

Reid, meanwhile, will join City’s League One rivals Preston on a two-year deal from July 1.

The winger missed the second half of last season with a knee injury but convinced North End he has fully recovered.

Lawn said: “Who knows what will happen to Kyel Reid? Look at what happened with Michael Owen when he got a bad knee injury.

“It’s a massive, massive risk and you just don’t know what they are going to come back like.

“Phil wanted to see how Kyel fared in pre-season before offering him a deal and if Preston don’t want to do to that then it’s up to them.”

Lawn, meanwhile, believes the arrival of left back Sheehan has given the Bantams the best rearguard in the division.

He said: “Alan Sheehan was the captain last season at Notts County and I think in Stephen Darby, Andrew Davies, Rory McArdle and Sheehan we have got the best back four in the division next year.

“I think we’ve also improved on the midfield by bringing in Billy Knott, Gary Liddle and Matty Dolan.

“Now we need to improve in other areas of the pitch and that’s what we’re trying to do. But we will take our time and get the right people.

“Jon McLaughlin has been offered a deal and will either take it or he won’t take it.

“As for James Meredith, we made him an improved offer and he never got back to us, so I think Phil quite rightly looked elsewhere.”