SALFORD were the first to blink in a season when it was expected that owners would show more patience.

Given the financial uncertainty clouding so many teams, particularly lower down the divisions, the annual sack race was predicted to be a quieter affair.

Not so at the Peninsula Stadium where the club with the wealthiest backing in League Two decided that Graham Alexander had made too sluggish a start.

Forget the fact that Salford were sitting fifth and unbeaten after the first five games. The “class of ’92”board decided that Alexander’s time was up.

Paul Scholes oversaw their next five outings, which included defeats against Port Vale and Cambridge, before Richie Wellens was lured back north from League One Swindon.

The 40-year-old returned to the club where he played nine times in the National League North in 2016. Ambitions now are a lot higher.

Wellens began his reign with two knock-out victories – 2-0 over non-league Hartlepool in the FA Cup and 2-1 at Rochdale to finish top of their qualifying group in the Papa John’s Trophy.

But he did not start so well where it really matters, losing his first league game at the helm in front of the Sky cameras at Bolton.

Wellens admitted the Ammies were “miles off it” after last Friday’s loss at University of Bolton Stadium - leaving Salford in 11th and nine points off leaders Newport.

With a full week to work with his new squad, there could well be changes for City’s visit.

But experienced midfielder Darron Gibson is still set to be out from the injury he suffered at Port Vale in mid-October. Richie Towell has also missed the last six games.

Salford's financial muscle ensured they beat City and other interested parties to striker Ian Henderson in the summer.

But they missed out on Antoni Sarcevic, another Bantams target, to Bolton.