GARRY Thompson has pledged to turn Horsfall Stadium into a fortress ahead of Bradford (Park Avenue)'s first home game of pre-season.

The Vanarama National League North side's preparations for the forthcoming campaign step up a gear when they host Sky Bet League Two opposition this evening.

Mansfield Town, who made it to the play-offs last season, will make the trip over to Bradford from Nottinghamshire.

Avenue player-manager Thompson admits he won't do anything drastically different to their 2-2 draw away at Hemsworth Miners where he says the focus was on experimenting, using two different formations in that match.

Pre-season primarily is all about fitness and playing minutes, says Thompson, and that won't change for the Mansfield tie.

He said: "We know it will be a tough opposition, a tough test.

"They're always in and around the top of League Two and potentially should have got promoted last year.

"But they'll be the same as us, they'll be coming to look for minutes and hopefully it will be a good game."

Thompson added: "We'll be looking to give boys longer minutes.

"We want the boys come the first game of the season, Curzon Ashton, to have had a lot of minutes, in terms of getting their fitness up.

"We're a young group, we're a hungry group and I've no doubt when I throw minutes at them they'll gobble them up.

"It's all about, at this moment in time, second game in, getting fitness and minutes.

"The later we go into pre-season you can start to try and impress on how we want to play - our way of playing, our style."

The friendly sees Thompson make his home debut at Horsfall and admits he's excited to get up-and-running.

He said: "We feel throughout the season, our home form is going to be massive for us.

"We had a great fans' forum on Saturday.

"The fans came down and got to meet myself and Shaun personally, which we liked.

"We want it to be that family feel, but we want it to be a fortress. Make Horsfall Stadium where teams hate coming.

"That comes from our intensity on the pitch, it comes from us having the full backing from the fans. I think we'll have that.

"I've played down there before, when I was at City.

"It's a great ground, I love it, I love the intensity of it all.

"I love the new ground behind the goal - I think it adds a little more of a fear factor and bit of a closer interaction with the fans.

"We want to have good home form because I think it will take us a long way this season."

Thompson - who made 55 appearances as part of the Bradford City 'History Makers' side - also still backs himself on the pitch, playing 45 minutes at Hemsworth, and jokingly declared himself as the 'stand-out' player so far.

He said: "I've been impressed with all of them, I'm not going to single anybody out because I think that's unfair at this stage and that puts pressure on people.

"But, the people we brought in, how sharp trainings been, I've been impressed with everybody."