Mark Lawn today launched an astonishing attack on League Two referees and claimed: They’re not fit for the job.

The City co-chairman is ready to risk the wrath of the Football Association after slamming the standard of officiating this season.

Lawn accused referees of not being able to keep up with play and suggested that some will give decisions against the Bantams just to show they will not be influenced by big crowds.

Lawn blasted: “Premier League managers complain about referees but they should come down to this level.

“The fitness of the officials we’ve seen is absolutely atrocious. They are nowhere near play.

“Some of the linos (assistants) are as big as me! I know that’s not going to go down well but they don’t look fit enough.

“That’s why you get contentious decisions. If you’re 50 yards away from play, your decision’s a guess.

“Look at the best referees, they are also the fittest. They keep up with play so they see what happens.”

Football League referees and assistants undergo fitness tests run by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited before and during the season.

But Lawn insists that too many are not up to scratch – and cannot cope with officiating in front of the bigger audiences at City home games.

He added: “I do think there’s a problem with referees at Valley Parade and that’s down to the assessors. Refs don’t want to be seen to be swayed by the crowd.

“A referee used to having 2,000 or 3,000 there suddenly has to do it in front of 10,000 and they can’t cope with it. I believe that without doubt.

“How can you have a Championship-size crowd and a League Two referee? You need a certain type of official to be able to deal with that.

“You get certain referees, and I’m not going to go names, who never give anything for us. He wants to show that he’s a strong referee and goes against us because of that.

“Then we’ve had first-year referees here, even one for his first game. Can you imagine that?

“They wouldn’t do it at Championship level. Could you see a new ref ever going to Millwall for his first one?

“I know it sounds like I’m saying we should be treated like a Championship side. That’s not the case.

“But I just feel we should have someone with the capability of making a decision because it’s the right one not just so they can look good in front of the assessor.”

Meanwhile, Guy Branston is back in full training after getting the all-clear on his foot injury. City received an inquiry from Lincoln last month but the defender was not fit.

Phil Parkinson said: “Guy saw the specialist on Tuesday and he’s happy with the progress made.

“Guy’s training with us again. He’s been told he’s got to expect a little bit of pain and just get on with that.”

Branston has not played for City since October 8 and, with the emergency loan window open, the club are likely to consider any offers for him. Lincoln have been keen for some time and tried to sign him last summer.

* The home game with Crawley will now take place on Tuesday, March 27.