HOPE Akpan saw positive signs for City again with Gary Bowyer’s summer recruitment.

The midfielder has been rejuvenated in recent weeks with three goals in his last four appearances.

Akpan is enjoying his football again as Bowyer’s Bantams start to build momentum in League Two.

They go into today’s home clash with Crawley just two points off top spot in third.

But Akpan is not surprised to see City soaring at last after the cast list assembled for the campaign.

He said: “You sat there in the summer looking at the players the manager got in.

“You’re looking and thinking, ‘if we get it right, we’ll be able to do well in this league.’

“That has been the whole idea from day one going into pre-season.

“We’ve got the players, we’ve got the supporters – what’s against us getting right back and being where we should be and heading for the top of this league?”

After three successive relegations with different clubs, Akpan appreciates the change in culture that Bowyer has instilled as City try to bounce back at the first attempt.

Akpan’s own performances have picked up after his manager gave it to him straight that he expected more.

The 28-year-old, who is set to become a father soon, has noticed a new-found togetherness within the squad.

He added: “I don’t need to say anything about the situation we found ourselves in last year.

“But the manager’s tried to change the mindset and vision of the club and I think we’ve done that to a degree. Everyone’s singing off the same hymn sheet.

“We’ve got a big squad but everybody is fighting for a place. It’s just making training more competitive and getting everyone working harder.

“It’s a good atmosphere and hopefully we can continue that going into the rest of the season.”

James Vaughan’s absence from the starting line-up at Morecambe showed that no places are guaranteed. Akpan sees that as an important message for the dressing room.

“I don’t think there’s any star players who are going to demand a place every week,” he said.

“We’ve seen that with Clayts (Clayton Donaldson) and Vaughany. It’s whose fit and ready to play will get the shirt.

“The manager always says it. Don’t rest, thinking this is the final 11.

“Next week could be different and it could be changed again the week after. So always be ready when you’re called upon.

“That will only build the culture of the team and keep everyone on their toes.”