STUART McCall heaped pre-season plaudits on young striker Omari Patrick as City step up a gear against Sunderland.

The visit of Simon Grayson’s Black Cats to Valley Parade tomorrow is an indication that preparations are going up a level with the League One campaign only a fortnight away.

The Bantams are in further action today behind closed doors at Bury’s training ground as McCall continues to assess his options.

But he has confirmed that 20-year-old Patrick is very much in his thoughts.

The speedy frontman has fast-tracked his way into first-team reckoning with some impressive displays in the friendlies so far.

“I think young Omari has been different class,” said McCall. “His performances in training and in games have been terrific.

“He wants to keep that standard up and he’ll be another one to throw in the mix in a forward position.

“He’s certainly made an impression. We don’t want to put too much pressure on him but he’s started really well.

“We had him in last season to have a look at him. We watched him in training for a week and decided we fancy him.

“We’ve got to keep developing him and he’s got to keep progressing. But he’s been great and I thought he was terrific again at Guiseley in midweek.”

Tony McMahon has been equally impressed with the former Barnsley flyer, who has already shown he can play down the middle or out wide.

McMahon said: “Young Omari has come in and shown the gaffer what he can do.

“We’ve got a big squad and a good one as well. But the young lads want to make the squad for the start of the season and why not?

“If they perform throughout pre-season, then they’ve got a chance.”

McMahon is excited by the thought of returning to Valley Parade tomorrow and facing the biggest opposition of their warm-up programme so far.

“These are the games you want to play in and it will be a good test. Hopefully Sunderland will bring most of their first team so it will be competitive.

“The fans will turn out in their numbers without a doubt. They showed that last week when they travelled to Germany.

“I know it’s another pre-season game but it’s against an ex-Premier League team and we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s all about fitness at this time of the year. We’re getting 90 minutes into the legs now and it feels good.

“We did loads of running over in Austria but games are ultimately where you get your fitness.

“It’s building up well towards to the start of the season against Blackpool when we want to hit the ground running.”