GARY Bowyer says he has made lifelong friends at Blackpool – but that will go out the window for a couple of hours tomorrow.

The Bantams boss comes up against his former club for the first time since leaving Bloomfield Road in the first week of the season.

That ended a two-year reign which saw Bowyer steer Blackpool to promotion via the play-offs and then establish themselves in the top half of League One.

And all that against a background of off-field turmoil surrounding the club’s controversial former owners, the Oyston family.

Bowyer said: “On a personal level, it will be brilliant to see some of the staff that we had such a great time with.

“Being able to lead your team out at Wembley and win is a dream. Once you pack in playing and you go into the coaching and managing side, you want to do that.

“It was fantastic and gave us a special connection that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

“Obviously, there are players I had good relationships with and how we worked under the circumstances there was well documented.

“It will be good to see them and say thank you to the supporters who travel over. But come 3pm it’s all Bradford City for me and we’ll pick up those relationships again after the game.”

The recent removal of owner Owen Oyston signalled the end of a fans’ boycott from home games. A crowd of 15,781 watched Blackpool’s 2-2 draw with Southend in the first match at Bloomfield Road after his exit.

Bowyer added: “When you stand in the technical area, you look across the far side and see the media having their sneaky pie and chips at half-time. You’d prefer to see thousands of supporters there.

“So the other week when they had that, it was magnificent.

“It’s a fantastic town and they want their football club. For them not to have gone to games for whatever reason for so long, to go back in is something that will be very special for them.”

Blackpool come to Valley Parade in ninth spot and currently four points outside the play-offs.

“I’m going to say they’re a very good outfit because I recruited the majority of them!” smiled Bowyer.

“Since I left, they brought in some more players, they’ve got a big squad to choose from, can play different formations and have some talent for sure.”