Julian Rhodes today denied he had set the bar too low by insisting survival was the only goal for City last season.

The Bantams matched the previous year’s 18th-placed finish but the joint-chairman believes the club have made strides under Phil Parkinson.

And he claims another disappointing campaign was mainly down to the “mistakes” that Peter Jackson made in the transfer market last summer.

Rhodes said: “I reckon we’ve ended up with the fifth-largest budget in League Two. But we had to spend a lot of money to rebuild the squad because it patently wasn’t good enough.

“We were only going one way. Our squad at the start was worse than the season before, when we only just survived, and the division was better.

“It was hard work to turn it round but we have spent a lot of money on people who clearly weren’t up to the job.

“We spent all season down the bottom because of the mistakes we made last summer. Phil needs to be judged on how we get on next season.”

Parkinson took over at the end of August after Jackson suddenly walked away. Rhodes insisted that cash had been made available to the previous boss to put things right.

He said: “I don’t care what anybody says, the first four games of the season were terrible – particularly the two at home. Those two rank along some of the worst performances I’ve ever seen.

“Anyone watching that who didn’t think we were going out of the league are kidding themselves. The alarm bells were ringing.

“We saw it wasn’t working and Peter agreed. We told him money was there to strengthen, which we had to do, but instead he decided to do the honourable thing and stepped down.

“If your squad isn’t good enough, you’ve got problems. It was difficult for Phil because he came in when the transfer window was about to shut.

“He had to look at loan signings and players who weren’t tied up for one reason or another.

“I don’t think we’ve done great with the loans but permanent signings like Kyel Reid and Marcel Seip were instrumental in keeping us in the division.”

City never got above the bottom seven all season but Rhodes has seen enough in Parkinson to feel more confident for the future.

He said: “I think Phil’s done well. There are a few things I’ve fallen out with him about, which you do over the course of the season.

“In the main, I just told him to make sure we stayed in the league and he did that with three games to spare.

“We had to spend money to do it but now we move on. Everybody is enthusiastic about it.

“Look at the home record from November onwards with only one defeat in 15 games. That’s quite impressive from a team that was struggling.

“Hopefully we can take that on into next season. I know some of the signings he wants to make will strengthen the squad.”

Sources on the south coast are linking City with right winger Kelvin Etuhu, who played 13 games for Portsmouth last season.

Cash-strapped Pompey want to re-sign him but are currently not in a position to do anything until their ownership is resolved.