CITY must embrace the high hopes of the Valley Parade faithful as they aim to put down a home marker tomorrow.

Season-ticket sales have topped 15,000 and another huge audience will be there for the BD8 bow against Colchester.

The play-off exit has raised the bar for Mark Hughes’ second full term at the helm - and he expects his side to buy into that.

“I haven’t got a problem with that,” said the City boss. “That’s the expectation we always work with and work alongside.

“It’s there, it’s not going to go away. We embrace it.

“That’s the expectation we talk about when we try and attract players here.

“We try and make them understand it’s a great platform for them if they want to make a mark in the game.

“But along with it comes a demand on you as a player and member of staff. Enjoy it and see where it takes you.”

City won nine of their 23 home games last season - three up on the previous term but the fewest in the top seven.

Hughes added: “We had more home wins than the year before. But it was still a low number compared with other teams at the top of the league.

“We always felt that there was a couple of results we left out there, by conceding late in games or we weren’t able to break down teams who came and frustrated us.

“There were also a couple when we weren’t up to the level required.

“Our away form was excellent last year. If our home form can be consistent like that and on a par with other teams, then I’m sure we will go very close.”

Colchester’s opening league game was washed out just before kick-off and they lost on penalties at Cardiff in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.

With the U’s making another long trip, Hughes hopes City can take advantage of their disrupted week.

“I would suggest it wasn’t the ideal situation for them in terms of preparation. Maybe that’s something that we can capitalise on.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Andy Cook celebrates a goal with the Kop last seasonAndy Cook celebrates a goal with the Kop last season (Image: Thomas Gadd)

“The reality is that we always want to start quickly in games and maybe we can do that.

“We might be able to catch them out but clearly they will have done their homework on us and have a game plan they hope will nullify the threat we have.

“I just sense we’re really keen to get going and get our home form up and running.

“It’s going to be vitally important that we have more wins on our own patch.

“If we can get our home form up to a level where we’re really happy, that’s going to go a long way to determine whether or not we are successful.”