KEEPER Richard O’Donnell ticked all the boxes to fill Colin Doyle’s boots at Valley Parade.

Head coach Michael Collins was chuffed to beat off competition, including West Brom, in time for the former Northampton stopper to start pre-season with his new team-mates.

Collins feels the Bantams have brought in the ideal replacement for Doyle in the shape of the 29-year-old.

“The number one spot is a crucial part of any team,” he said.

“We wanted to bring in not only the right player but the right character – and we’ve done that on both.

“As everyone does at this stage, we do as much as we possibly can to get references and to watch a lot of footage.

“In all corners we looked at, Richard ticked the boxes so we’re very pleased to get that one over the line.

“There was interest from other clubs so we’re very pleased he chose us.

“He’s quite local, he’s not a million miles away so won’t have to relocate. It’s good for him as well to come straight in and hit the ground running.”

The squad underwent a day of medical testing yesterday as they ease into the build-up to the new campaign.

Collins admitted he could not wait to get his teeth into the area of his new role where he feels most at home.

He added: “Since the announcement last Monday, there’s been quite a bit of talking and interviews. I understand that’s part of the job.

“But the thing you look forward to and what you’re ultimately judged on is being out on the grass and working with the players.

“It’s all about building your team going forward to win football matches.

“For us, it’s almost been the time to relax because that’s when you’re back in your comfort zone.

“You feel you’re in complete control. We know what we want to deliver and it’s just a case of going about that now.

“As a coaching team, that’s when the real serious stuff starts and we can detail in on how we go about it.

“Thursday was the day we were looking forward to and it seemed to take forever from the Monday to come.

“But you’ve also got to give yourself plenty of time to get prepared. Before we know it, it will be the week running up to the first game of the season.

“There’s a spring back in the step now and we’ve got good players in the building who have got that positivity to bring in because they are excited to get going.”

Meanwhile, Timothee Dieng has signed for Southend United.

The French midfielder has joined Chris Powell's side on a two-year deal, with an option for a further year.

Dieng joined City in 2016 from Oldham but left the club last week after turning down the offer of a new deal.

Speaking after completing his move to Southend, Dieng said: "I've spent four seasons in this division, so I know how things work and how hard it can be at times.

"But I know that I can bring my experience into the team and I will try to do everything I can to help the squad and the club move forward."

Another former Bantam, Tony McMahon, joined Oxford United on Thursday.