EDIN Rahic says he is “encouraged” by the range of candidates vying for the City job.

Mark Warburton, Steve Cotterill and Ian Cathro are among those thought to be keen on the Valley Parade vacancy - although Rahic didn’t want to comment on any of the names linked “out of respect to the individuals involved."

The club want to appoint a head coach who will be “brave enough” to bring young players through while creating an entertaining brand of football.

Rahic is not surprised by the variety of interest in the role.

He said: “Bradford City are a big club. I think the type of coach we are looking for is not usual in League One and that’s obviously very exciting for coaches who never thought they would be on the list.

“If you have the right experience of developing players, then why shouldn’t we give you a chance?

“In that respect we are open minded. We have spoken with a lot of applicants, some very experienced coaches and other not-so-experienced ones, but we will ultimately choose who we believe is right.

“It has taken time to speak to all the candidates, but we are happy with the shortlist we have prepared.

“This is a very important decision, perhaps the most important decision we will make in the next few years.

"To find a head coach who will build a competitive first team and also focus on development is key. We can’t rush, we don’t want to be doing this again in the next six months.”

Simon Grayson’s departure nine days ago – a decision that is understood to have suited both parties – has prompted Rahic and Stefan Rupp into their latest hot-seat hunt.

“It’s encouraging to see how many applications we have received,” added Rahic.

“We are interested in bringing in a head coach to match our long-term ambitions, and it has to be someone with experience of improving players.”

“It’s also important for our fans to see an attractive, effective style of football. We want to be brave enough to give opportunities to young players if they show they are ready for a chance in the first-team.

“We said this two years ago and the strategy hasn’t changed. Now is the time for Stefan and I to show we are brave enough to see it through.”

Rahic insisted City are not in a position to throw money at promotion and try to compete with the likes of relegated Sunderland, who will be boosted by a £35 million parachute payment from the Premier League.

“We can’t compare our budget with that of Wigan, Blackburn or Sunderland so we have to find other ways to compete. That’s a fact.

“If we have a head coach who can develop our players, we can increase the value of the squad. This way, we can find our own way of competing against these big budgets.

“We will not take the massive risk to invest too much money in the playing budget. However, we will have a competitive team, no doubt.

“We cannot be Bradford City, a club of this size and with this fanbase, and not have a competitive first-team.

“We know that this isn’t just about developing young players, if that was purely our intention then we would have bought another club where we could just focus on developing youngsters.

“It’s a challenge for sure, to have a competitive team but also to give players with potential a chance.”

Rahic says the candidates are well aware of their philosophy of integrating youngsters with seasoned pros and encouraging that step-up from the club’s youth ranks.

“The head coach will be a team player, who understands that we have to bring players through. Otherwise it just wouldn’t work.

“It’s not just promotion. We don’t want to get to the Championship and then have to sign 20 new players – that cannot be right.

“It’s about how we can develop our players in League One and ensure they are ready for the Championship.

“That’s not to say we’re just looking at players aged 16 and 17, we want to develop the players aged between 20 and 25. They still have massive value if they improve.”

“It’s football, but it’s also business. We have to think about how we can increase the value of our players if we don’t have a transfer budget on the scale of some of the other clubs in this league.

“We can’t compete with Sunderland in terms of having a massive budget, so we have to excite our fans with the players we develop and the football we play. That’s the aim.”