STUART McCall is unlikely to include any trialists in City’s pre-season plans because of COVID complications.

The Bantams boss yesterday made midfielder Elliot Watt his fourth signing of the summer and is still targeting “two or three” more before the new season is due to kick off on September 12.

But he is not planning on casting an eye on any free agents in training.

McCall would usually invite a few in to work with the squad and try to force their way into his thinking.

Gary Bowyer even used friendlies against Eccleshill and Brighouse last year to field an entire team of trialists.

But, because of the protocols involved in coping with the virus, McCall is reluctant to bring in any “outsiders” at this stage.

He said: “I would normally look at one or two trialists. But I don’t think we’ll be doing that because we’d obviously have to pay for them to be tested and we don’t know their background and so on.

“So, at the moment that will be on hold. But I also don’t think we’re at the stage where we need them.

“We obviously still want a couple and we’ll see what happens up top.

“But I believe we’re getting to where we want to be, although there are still a couple of areas where we’ll bring players in.

“We’ve brought six in now, three re-signed (including Callum Cooke) and three new ones.

“I did say last season we wanted to reduce the size of the squad.

“If it’s going to be a case of playing a lot of games in a short space of time and lads have got to be up and running, we’ve got to be aware of that as well.”

City return to training on Thursday, although it will be in strictly-monitored small groups at staggered times through the day.

The squad will assemble at Valley Parade tomorrow for a meeting with staff to talk through the guidelines that they must stick to in the early weeks. The players will be tested three times before the opening game of League Two.

McCall added: “Protocol has got to be followed for the first five sessions, which is small groups, non-contact, social distances etc.

“After five sessions we go into protocol two, which is contact. But to get to that we’ll all be getting tested.

“The protocol at the minute is testing then, testing halfway through pre-season and then testing before your first game. There’s still a lot to do.

“But because we’ve been out that long, the first part of the training will be social-distanced anyway.

“There won’t be any contact because we wouldn’t be at that stage, so it shouldn’t affect what we would do.”

As part of the EFL’s Return to Training protocols, the players will pick up their training kits tomorrow and will be responsible for washing them. They also have to bring their own water bottles.

McCall said: “We’ll be meeting at the club and going through everything.

“The lads will be given their designated time slots for the next day. We’ll split it up for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and probably do the same at the start of next week.

“Then hopefully we’ll have the test results back and we can go on to protocol stage two. We can start ramping it up a bit."