HOPE Akpan will kick off his City career with a hearty recommendation from Stephen Warnock.

The powerful midfielder has become the ninth arrival of the summer as the Valley Parade rebuild gathers pace.

And Bantams old boy Warnock has backed him to go down a storm in League One.

Nigerian international Akpan signed on a two-year deal with a further season’s option to provide some presence in the middle of the park.

City are excited by his capture after beating off competition to land a target they had been tracking for a while.

Bolton had shown an interest and Burton boss Nigel Clough expected the 26-year-old to look to stay in the Championship after allowing his contract at the relegated Brewers to expire.

City also sought out the opinion of former loanee Warnock, a Burton team-mate of Akpan before finishing his career at Valley Parade, and he provided a glowing reference.

Akpan will fight for a starting role in central midfield with fellow new recruit Josh Wright, Romain Vincelot, Danny Devine and fit-again Jake Reeves. But he will also add the box-to-box muscle that the club have been in the market for.

He has played the last five seasons in the Championship, clocking up 135 appearances with Reading, Blackburn and Burton.

Akpan previously played for Crawley – and featured in that infamous game at Valley Parade in 2012 when five players were sent off in a mass brawl after the final whistle.

Capped four times by Nigeria, he admits he likes to get stuck in.

“I like contact,” he said when asked to describe his style of play. “I like making tackles, keeping it simple and keeping the ball moving.

"I love to drive on the ball and get in the box and get on the end of things. Hopefully I can do that.”

After successive relegations from the Championship, including final-day heartache last season against Preston despite scoring himself, Akpan sees his move to City as an opportunity to get back there.

Akpan, who began his career at Everton, said: "Funnily enough, the first game I ever went to was against Bradford at Goodison Park.

"That was my first introduction into going to a stadium and watching football.

"My sister lives in Bradford with her two children and family so I know a bit about the club. They've been to a few games.

"Hopefully I can draw on my experience that I've had in the Championship to help the lads here." 

He has already linked up with his new club at their training camp in Cheshire as they prepare for the first pre-season friendly on Saturday at Farsley Celtic.

Bantams head coach Michael Collins said: "We are really pleased to get Hope into the building.

"We already had excellent quality in that area but Hope will add to that, while also offering a strong physical presence.

"The intensity of the league demands we have quality in all departments to cope and we feel like we are getting there now."