MICHAEL Flynn should get a good reception when he returns to Valley Parade this weekend.

In a City era when results were often grim, he earned his claret and amber stripes as a captain who played with his heart on his sleeve.

For three years, Flynn was a fixture in midfield with 104 appearances and 14 goals.

They may not have been the best of times for the club scrabbling unsuccessfully in the bottom tier but the Welshman’s contribution was appreciated by the fans.

He was not one to cower under the natural expectation of playing for a club physically far bigger than their lowly surroundings.

“It’s going to be a really nice occasion for myself,” he said ahead of bringing his Newport side back to West Yorkshire. “I’m very fond of Bradford, the club means a lot to me.

“The fans were so supportive when I was there and I’m looking forward to coming back.

“I know it’s a big club but the fans want to see honest people pulling on the shirt.

“You look at the likes of Stuart McCall and Jamie Lawrence. Those type of players are held in such high esteem because not only were they good but they gave their all for the club week in, week out.

“I’d like to think they thought that of me effort-wise. I probably wasn’t as good as Stuart or Jamie at the time but there’s no excuse for not going out there and giving it everything.”

Flynn can appreciate why some players crack when performing in the goldfish bowl that is Valley Parade in the lower levels. But he embraced those demands.

“You go there on a one-off day and you enjoy it. There’s no pressure.

“When you are playing there regularly and maybe things aren’t going too well, then it does become a daunting place.

“A lot of players for one reason or another don’t handle it very well.

“I’m one of them who liked to think that I did cope. Everybody is a different character but I loved it.

“Every home game we’d walk out and it would feel like you were playing in the Championship. It definitely inspired me.”

Flynn is impressed with how Gary Bowyer has resurrected City’s fortunes after relegation. He believes the Bantams boss has already done a bigger job in transforming the squad than he has been credited for.

He added: “Gary has been excellent in his recruitment of players and they are doing well in the league.

“I know everybody wants to be top of the table especially in Bradford but he’s turned them around and done a fantastic job.

“I know Gary is very hard-working and he’s a very determined man. He will want to replicate that with his team on the pitch.

“He’s pulled the club back together again because it wasn’t great last season or the one before. Looking in from the outside, I think he’s done a bigger job than people think.

"There's always going to be that level of expectation. Anybody who doesn't think that hasn't done their research.

“I’m not going to dress it up, it was sad to see what was happening there before. That’s why Gary deserves a lot of credit for what he has done already.

“He has turned it round in a relatively short space of time

“They are going to be challenging for promotion, definitely. They might have a couple of bad weekends along the way but they will be there or thereabouts come the end of April.”

Having been pipped in the play-off final by Tranmere last season, hopes are higher at Flynn’s Newport as they bid to challenge City in the promotion fight.

He said: “The bar has been raised but we’re not as big as Bradford. We don’t pay as big as Bradford and we don’t get support as big.

“It’s all relative in where you should be and where you are.

“We’ve come from near enough going out the league to the play-off final, which is huge steps.

“Bradford are obviously a little bit more frustrated because they’ve come in on the back of a relegation and believe they should be in the league above. But there’s only one way to do that.

“From a selfish view, I want us to be there and I’d much rather it be in the top three because I don’t want us to be wasting time in the play-offs again.

“But I’d also want Bradford to be there. They are two clubs that mean a lot to me.

"I had a really good time with Bradford and have nothing but good memories.”