LUKE Hendrie’s exit from City will forever be flagged up as a tipping point in Edin Rahic’s destructive reign at Valley Parade.

It is now 20 months since the German’s refusal to let Stuart McCall sign the defender permanently from Burnley exposed the chasm between the former chairman and his manager.

No City fan needs reminding what has unfolded in that time but as Hendrie prepares to face his boyhood club for the first time since, he can sense they are coming out the other side.

“As an outsider looking in now, it seems as if Gary Bowyer is a really good fit and you can see them doing well,” he said.

“He’s getting back to the identity that Bradford City is – hard-working, everyone together.

“I bet last season was difficult to watch for the fans. But the signings they’ve made for this season are a real statement and they will obviously be one of the teams to beat.

“It was difficult at the time because the club were losing a lot of good people, not just on the playing side but staff-wise.

“I used to go to the games when I was younger and there were some really good people behind the scenes.

“Hopefully now they can start bringing the same kind of people back because they are the ones who really make the club welcoming and give Bradford that family feel.”

After a brief spell with Shrewsbury, where he found opportunities limited, Hendrie has put down roots at tomorrow’s opponents Grimsby. He played 46 games last season and has been given the vice-captaincy in Michael Jolley’s side.

But the inevitable City ties remain strong for John Hendrie’s son with the summer capture of James Hanson from Wimbledon.

Hendrie admitted it is “surreal” to be teaming up with the striker that he watched from the Wembley stands in City’s two finals in 2013.

“I was at both games and keep joking with him that he was Swansea’s best player!” he laughed. “But it’s a great coup for us.

“Our problem last year was that we didn’t have a focal point. The ball wasn’t really sticking a lot of the time when we played the ball up front.

“The manager realised that and has gone out and probably got the best there is.

“When James was at Bradford in League One there weren’t many target men better than him.

“He’s obviously a nice lad but when it comes to the nitty-gritty, you want him by your side.

“You can’t play football all the time and in League Two there are games where you say, ‘let’s get it up there and play for seconds’.

“When I used to watch him at Bradford, he would be so effective up front with Nahki Wells. He’s such a handful and his work rate and attitude is brilliant.

“You get good quality into him, especially in the box, and he’s going to be a massive threat.”

It makes for an appetising first home game of the season for the Mariners, who won their opener 2-0 against Morecambe, with City quickly selling out their 1,800-ticket allocation.

Hendrie said: “It was one of the first games I looked out for and to come so early is great.

“It’s always a great occasion with Bradford because their away support is brilliant.

“We’ll have a good number of fans there as well after our positive result at Morecambe last week.

“It’s good for us to experience a crowd like that and I’m sure it will be a game to savour.”