GARY Bowyer wishes City could one day be like Carabao Cup first-round opponents Preston.

But that won’t stop him trying to pull off an upset when the Championship side visit Valley Parade tonight.

Bowyer is a big admirer of how Alex Neil’s North End operate – and believes they present one of the hardest opponents in the hat at the opening stage of the competition.

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He sees Preston’s policy based on younger, energetic players as the ideal template for the Bantams to try to emulate.

The City boss, who intends to make changes, said: “I feel with the group of players I’ve got available to me, we want to be working towards the model of what Preston are doing.

“The lads that will be playing, I wouldn’t have any problems with playing them in my first team anyway. That shows the level of standard we’ve got.”

The likes of Danny Devine, Shay McCartan, Paudie O’Connor and Sean Scannell are all pushing for a start as City begin a run of midweek matches.

With three Tuesday games in four weeks, Bowyer stresses the importance of getting minutes into the legs of his squad.

“It’s a busy period now and it’s difficult then to fit in friendlies as well to give the ones who haven’t played the game time as well,” he added. “That has to come into consideration.

“You’ve got to give opportunities to players to try and break their way into the team as well and look after one or two.

“We’ve been fortunate with injuries but you don’t want to be giving someone a game three weeks down the line when his last football was back in pre-season.

“You don’t want to be putting any at risk in terms of workload either, so it is all a balancing act.”

Despite shuffling his pack, Bowyer has his sights on reaching round two.

“We want to get through, simple as that. It would be no different if I was playing the youth team.

“You look at what happened at Bolton at the weekend. They had to play all those youngsters and fair play, they had a real good go and drew with Coventry.

Phil Parkinson would have wanted to win that game with those lads playing. We’re no different, no matter what team and who the personnel might be.”