CITY might be facing everybody home and away twice, but there are always some key periods in the fixture list.

So let's take a look at four crucial runs of games for the Bantams for 2022/23:


Barrow (A) - August 6

Newport (H) - August 13

Colchester (A) - August 16

Hartlepool (A) - August 20

Crewe (H) - August 27

It's the old cliche, "there are no easy games in this division". And certainly no one is expecting City to walk all over the above five sides, following their July 30 opener against Doncaster.

But based on what the bookmakers are saying, this quintet are all long odds to be making a challenge for promotion.

Barrow are favourites to go down, and City won their last season, while Newport are not as strong as the team that reached the play-off final in 2020/21 and ended last term horribly.

City were poor at Colchester last season, but Mark Hughes did rotate his team for that fixture, and the U's have come 20th and 15th in the last two campaigns.

Hartlepool were beaten by City at Victoria Park last season too, and failed to win any of their last nine games, while Crewe were comfortably bottom of League One in 2021/22.

City are likely to start all five of these games as favourites to win, and a good start could set them up nicely for the season ahead.


Harrogate (A) - October 1

Stockport (H) - October 8

Salford (A) - October 15

City still haven't picked up a single point against near-neighbours Harrogate since the North Yorkshire side's ascension to the Football League, something they will be desperate to change.

They then host big-spending Stockport a week later, who may have just been promoted from the National League, but they have been installed as favourites to lift the title.

The Bantams are second-favourites, alongside Salford, who they visit just seven days after Stockport.

City have never won or scored a goal there in three attempts, so again, it is a record they must fix up.


Carlisle (A) - December 26

Harrogate (H) - December 29

Salford (H) - January 1

Stockport (A) - January 7

Christmas is always a busy time, and Mark Hughes will want to keep adding to that squad depth he has been stockpiling this summer.

Especially looking at this run of four fixtures.

Carlisle at Brunton Park is a game that nearly always sends shivers down Bantams fans' spines. They have not won any of their last eight there, a run stretching back to 1985.

It seems no matter what runs of form City and Carlisle are on, the latter always come out on top in Cumbria, something the Bantams will be keen to rectify after 37 long years.

Then it is those same three teams as October. Harrogate should see a packed house at Valley Parade over Christmas, while City will be hoping for a second January home win over Salford in a row.

Stockport away, according to the bookies' odds, is set to be the toughest game of the season for City, though it could yet get moved, if either side reaches the FA Cup third round.


Swindon (A) - April 18

Gillingham (H) - April 22

Northampton (A) - April 29

Leyton Orient (H) - May 6

It is an interesting quartet of games to end the season, against sides who all have decent promotion/title odds.

Swindon will be returning to this season with a vengeance after being heartbreakingly knocked out of the League Two play-offs by Port Vale on penalties in the semi-finals.

Gillingham only went down from League One on goal difference, so will be a real threat on paper, while poor Northampton only missed out on automatic promotion from the fourth tier on goals scored, after Bristol Rovers thumped rock-bottom Scunthorpe 7-0 on the final day.

Leyton Orient meanwhile, have been installed at just 16/1 to win the title, and like City, are expected to do much better than last season's mid-table finish.

Those four games will be acid tests, assuming City are still fighting for promotion.

Can this finally be the year they go back up?