GOODNESS knows City supporters have enjoyed a few cup successes in recent seasons, but surely nothing would be celebrated more than a return to the Championship.

The Bantams have enjoyed a remarkable renaissance since Phil Parkinson took the reins in August 2011 and no-one will ever forget the incredible 2012-13 campaign.

City reached the League Cup final as a fourth division side and returned to Wembley later that season to clinch promotion.

They made national – indeed global – headlines last term when famously dumping Chelsea out of the FA Cup and reaching the quarter-finals.

Against all that, they remain a League One club and Rory McArdle summed it up when he said: “Ultimately it’s nice to have a cup run but promotion is achieved over 46 games.

“The club is going in the right direction and if we can finish it off by getting out of League One it would be great.

“The Bradford players and supporters have probably been spoilt a bit over the years with the cups.

“The fans might be bored with going to Wembley and knocking all the Premier League teams out! They might take another promotion as well.”

McArdle was signed by Parkinson in June 2012 and has not looked back since. He was at the heart of their fairytale 2012-13 campaign and is proving similarly indispensable again this term.

In their last six league games, City have won four, drawn two and kept three clean sheets.

It is a highly impressive sequence which has lifted them to the brink of the play-off places.

McArdle said: “Hopefully we can build on what we’ve started and keep the clean sheets going.

“The more we get, the more football matches we’re going to win and the higher up the table we will go, which is exactly where everyone wants to be.

“Why are we conceding so few? I don’t know, it’s a bit of a strange one.

“If anyone knew the ultimate reason why you kept so many clean sheets, they’d have a good old formula.

“At the end of the day, it’s just about keeping the ball out of the box.

“Ultimately, if it comes in then it’s about clearing it as big and as high as possible and making sure we’ve got good shape as a team as a whole.

“If we continue doing that then the clean sheets will keep coming, as we have shown.”

James Meredith has proved a key figure in City’s defensive solidity and proved his class with an outstanding debut performance for Australia yesterday as they crushed Kyrgyzstan 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier.

McArdle said: “We’re all delighted for Mez. I think if you look at how far he has come since he first joined the club, then he’s right up there.

“When he’s on it, there is no better left back in the league if you ask me.

“Full credit to Mez and everyone is over the moon for him. It sounds like he’s done really well for Australia.”

McArdle has not been called up for tonight’s friendly against Latvia in Belfast but he is on the fringes of Northern Ireland’s squad and was on the bench when Michael O’Neill’s men clinched qualification to next summer’s showdown in France.

McArdle said: “Ultimately it’s my club performances that are going to get me into the squad, so as long as that’s going right and it comes then I’ll be happy.

“Clean sheets are what goalkeepers and defenders are judged on. When we look at the table at the end of the season, it’s goals against I focus on. If it’s one of the lowest then we can be happy.”