CITY are aiming to strengthen links with neighbours Bradford (Park Avenue) as they prepare to welcome back fans for tonight’s friendly.

The Bantams play their first pre-season game under Derek Adams at the Horsfall Stadium.

Adams is expected to field a strong side for the first of eight warm-up outings – in front of a crowd close to 1,000.

It will be the first time that City have played with fans this year and chief executive Ryan Sparks believes the occasion will help to demonstrate the growing bond with the local clubs.

He said: “Sporting organisations in Bradford should be working together and our relations with Park Avenue and the Bulls are very strong – and even stronger with the council.

“We will not achieve anything without them. There’s no point working in isolation because you stand to achieve nothing.

“There will be 900 people there, it’s going to be sold out. I wished there could be more but obviously the restrictions are still going to be around for a little while longer.

“But they will make some money and I’m glad we can help them. It’s the same with Eccleshill and Brighouse, our other local friends.”

Before heading to Scotland for last week’s training camp, City had been using the running track at Park Avenue for fitness work.

“Derek and the team said they wanted to have a track for pre-season and we had many options,” added Sparks.

“We could have gone to Leeds or Spen Valley but we wanted to go to Park Avenue.

“We went there for a reason. We show our support and hire their track.

“Equally, we aren’t going to be taking 25 trialists there tonight and, quite honestly, insulting them as we have done in the past.

“You treat others how you expected to be treated yourself. We need Bradford (Park Avenue) and they undoubtedly need us but we want to work together.

“It’s a big occasion for us. It’s our first match with a new team, a new look and, in my opinion, a bit of a new feel about the place.

“They’ve got a decent set-up and we want to help them.”

City’s summer recruits could all be involved against Mark Bower’s side as the fans get a glimpse of the squad they hope will be pushing for League Two promotion.

Sparks admits he is as excited as the supporters for the pre-season games to begin.

“I can’t wait because, as daft as it sounds, I’ve not seen a supporter in our stadium since taking over this position. It’s been bizarre.

“I went to watch Steeton versus Thackley last week and 150 people were there – 150 more than I’ve seen since Tranmere away in December.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing us play and what the squad is like.

“I nipped up to Park Avenue the other day to discuss the game and watched a little bit of the running.

“There are a lot of players who were probably involved last season and watched Derek Adams have success with Morecambe and they want a piece of it. That’s the desire that needs to be there.

“We’ve got a lot of time left in the window but we’re very comfortable with our position in terms of the budget and what we could do and how things could change if they need to.

“But we’re in a good place from a football perspective.

“I’m also seeing what’s going on behind the scenes and we’re on another level with conditioning and science to how we’ve been at any point that I’ve been involved in Bradford City.

“There’s an intensity about the playing group. It is a tough pre-season but the buy-in has been superb.”