AS one Teessider leaves the Bantams, another comes in, with the departure of Hartlepool’s Harry Chapman at the end of the season swiftly followed by the arrival of Yarm’s Callum Johnson.

That means he joins the likes of Redcar natives Brad Halliday and Richie Smallwood, as well as Darlington-born Alex Pattison, in the squad, with all five of the above having come through Middlesbrough’s academy as youngsters.

But the right-back insists the car shares of the Boro alumni from the North East are a thing of the past, revealing new boss Graham Alexander has encouraged his players to live near to the club.

Johnson, released by promoted League Two side Mansfield last month, said: “Brad’s in Wetherby now and I’ll be moving close to the area too.

“I had a chat with the manager about that and he’s keen for us to move close by, because it’s beneficial.

“It’s not good for us to be driving here and back from the North-East all the time for training.

“I said to Graham when we had our initial chat that I’d be moving close to the area, and then maybe head back up to the North-East on weekends after games.

“I was talking to Patto and he’s said he’s living closer by this season too.”

With the Bantams having that Teesside streak running through their squad, with Andy Cook and Alex Gilliead only hailing from just up the road too, Johnson was asked if that familiarity had helped him ease into his time at his new club.

He said: “I know a few of the lads from the Boro area, and a couple of them I came through with in the club's academy.

“It’s always nice to have that I suppose, but I don’t know all of the lads from there.

“It’ll be good to meet them, as well as the other lads at Bradford.”

Not only do Halliday and Johnson have the Teesside connection, but they are also both predominantly right-backs.

Johnson actually signed for Fleetwood on loan three years ago after Halliday suffered a dreadful knee injury, going on to play 35 League One games for the Cod Army in the 2021/22 campaign.

Halliday recovered from that setback superbly, and was City’s Player of the Season last term, so where does that leave Johnson, who has joined the Bantams with the aim of being a regular starter?

Callum Johnson has not come to Bradford City just to be Brad Halliday's understudy.Callum Johnson has not come to Bradford City just to be Brad Halliday's understudy. (Image: Bradford City AFC.)

He said: “I know Brad well, we came through together at Middlesbrough as he’s only a year older than me, then we were both in that Fleetwood squad.

“He had a good season last year at right wing-back but I know the manager likes to play three at the back and when I spoke with him, he said he knows I’ve got the versatility to play in various positions.

“That includes the right-back and right centre-back role.

“It’s just a case of having competition in the squad and me being able to fight for a start in multiple positions.”

Johnson missed both of Mansfield’s games with City last season due to injury, but he has faced them in League One with Accrington before.

On his impressions of the club, he said: “With the crowd at Valley Parade, it’s always going to be intimidating.

“I remember feeling like the atmosphere there was really good, and if you can get off to a good start and get the crowd onside, it can make it a fortress.

“If we can start games fast and start the season well, with the crowd behind us, it’s the biggest stadium in the league, so all of that can intimidate opposition.

“I know opposition players will treat it like a cup final when they come to Valley Parade, and that’s something us lads will have to deal with.

“But if we can make it where the fans are with us and we’re all pushing in the same direction, all thriving to get promoted, it can be that intimidating place for visiting teams to come to.”