GARY Bowyer today stressed that City’s first-team door is open to all as he looks to halt their slide.

Former club skipper Josh Wright and Joe Riley, who were both made surplus to requirements under David Hopkin, were among those who featured in a training-ground game against Huddersfield’s academy yesterday.

George Miller, Jermaine Anderson, Paudie O'Connor and number two keeper Ben Wilson were also hoping to catch the eye of their new boss.

READ MORE: Bowyer assesses challenge ahead

Bowyer has told his squad that starting spots are up for grabs as he builds towards his Valley Parade opener against Peterborough on Saturday.

“It is a clean slate,” he said. “I have said that to all of them.

“It is up to them to show me in training they are worthy of a starting place.

“Once they have got it, they must keep that shirt. The players know what I want from them.

“What I will say is that in training on my first day, we only had 20 outfield players. So, we have not got the biggest of squads in that sense.”

Bowyer’s first job in charge has been to lift the mood after last weekend’s 5-1 hammering at Portsmouth, which saw the gap between 23rd-placed City and safety stretch to six points.

He is keen to draw a line under their previous struggles and focus solely on the 11 games left to stay afloat in League One.

The Bantams boss added: “It was definitely noticeable on Monday.

“I came in buzzing but the players had got back from Portsmouth - with all that had happened down there.

“It was a case of laying down a marker as to what I expect from them. And what they can expect from me.

“I’m trying to get them smiling, which, to be fair, they have been. It is important they enjoy their football.

“My job is to tell what has gone is gone. We cannot do anything about that.”

Bowyer has had one-to-one chats with the players to find out any grievances and what they feel needs to be done to turn results around.

“I spoke to them individually and as a group,” he said. “I have two or three still to catch up with.

“I have listened to them and taken on board what they said. Those conversations are private and confidential but what I can tell you is the players all have this collective belief that we can stay up.

“That is massive. If I had walked in and got a sense of any negativity whatsoever, it would have made it even harder.

“That belief is exciting for me. We have to work very, very hard but the players have that belief and that gives me confidence.”

Bowyer is convinced there is enough quality in the City squad that he has inherited – but equally wary of suggesting that they are too good to go down.

“I understand where you’re coming from with that. In seasons gone past and certain leagues, the same applies.

“But obviously, something has been missing for this group to win matches. We have to try and put that right and very, very quickly too.

“This is a wonderful club not in the greatest of positions and I understand that. But this is a challenge I am really looking forward to.

“There are some very talented footballers here and that was another reason for coming. I would not have come if I did not think we can get out of this.

“The pull of the playing staff, the pull of the supporters and the pull of the stadium was just too good to turn down.”