THE lone shout of “c’mon City” swelled immediately into a refrain that Valley Parade could rock to regularly in the coming months.

That one Kop voice of encouragement just ahead of kick-off morphed into several, socially-distanced of course, for an opening chorus of “Derek Adams’ Bradford army”.

Adams, you sense, is not one for getting sentimental or swept up in the hype.

But the signs of life in stands that had laid empty for nigh on 17 months were an early reminder for the City boss of the hope and expectation that he has willingly inherited.

A two-from-two start with no goals conceded in pre-season only adds to that.

This success in front of a first home crowd since February last year should come with an obvious caveat as opposite number Richie Wellens was forced to cobble a travelling squad together that included 11 trialists after a positive test bit hard into his options.

But it was the manner of the performance that will again have City fans eagerly ticking off the days until the action starts for real.

In a few short weeks there is already an Adams edge about the Bantams; they appear a very different beast from the one that limped to 15th in May.

“Please keep a social distance” flashed up regularly on the scoreboard; a reminder that while supporters are drifting back into grounds football life is still far from normal.

But there was no such two-metre gap about the closing down and harrying that turned the screw on Donny – and led to both goals.

This is where the fitness gleaned from those punishing, energy-sapping training runs comes into play. Run hard, close down, keep going.

Throw in an intense heat more Montego Bay than Manningham and the determination to do that is even more commendable.

After a half each at Park Avenue, the starting 11 went beyond the hour point – some did 76 minutes, Levi Sutton, to his immense credit in a temperature where walking up and down the stand felt like doing a marathon, lasted the full 90.

Sutton’s staying power is worth a nod, although he had to bow to central midfield partner Yann Songo’o for the most memorable tackle of the day – a thudding halfway-line challenge on Doncaster winger Tommy Rowe that made a satisfying smack.

But the star in City white was Abo Eisa, whose quick feet and quick everything gave the fans plenty to get excited about on the left flank.

He had already had two digs at the Donny defence when he chased a bouncing ball into the box and got there a fraction ahead of trialist Tunji Akinola to draw the foul.

Eisa, like Ollie Crankshaw at the Horsfall Stadium, promptly grabbed the responsibility himself and smashed the penalty into the roof of the net.

Eisa was involved again in City’s next dangerous foray, his square pass for Andy Cook deflecting off a Doncaster defender and into the path of Crankshaw, whose shot was well saved by Louis Jones.

And more of that City pressing was evident when Oscar Threlkeld picked off a sloppy pass from Rowe just outside the penalty area. Crankshaw and Callum Cooke combined to tee up Andy Cook, who scuffed wide from close range.

Doncaster’s trial contingent consisted of those named ones seriously pushing for a contract and others being kept under wraps or simply filling numbers as a favour.

One-time City loanee Aramide Oteh, whose last goal for the club beat Adams’ Morecambe on New Year’s Day 2020, is one of those hoping to impress.

But he got little change out of a solid defensive unit that made it an easy afternoon in the sun for Sam Hornby and, for the final 25 minutes, Richard O’Donnell.

Challenged to step it up again after the break, City’s starting side claimed a second goal ten minutes in. Again, it was the reward from forcing an error.

There might have been a touch of fortune about the deflection off Eisa but his presence created the hurried clearance which rebounded conveniently in the box to Crankshaw before Cook applied the finishing touch.

Lee Angol and Jorge Sikora went close to adding more but it was another day of positives that will only build the anticipation.

CITY: Hornby (O’Donnell 65), Threlkeld (Cousin-Dawson 76), Kelleher (Sikora 76), Canavan (O’Connor 65), Ridehalgh (Foulds 76), Sutton, Songo’o (Scales 65), Eisa (Vernam 65), Cooke (Staunton 76), Crankshaw (Gilliead 65), Cook (Angol 65).

DONCASTER: Jones (Bottomley 73); Bailey (Trialist 65), Akinola (Johnson 46), Anderson (Trialist 46), Rowe (Horton 46); Colkett (Ravenill 65), Trialist (Greaves 46), Close (Trialist 46); Williams (Trialist 46), Oteh (Hasani 65), Barlow (Trialist 46).