By Matt Briggs
With the biggest deal of the summer already in the bag at Valley Parade, we can look forward to a relaxing couple of months.
Phil Parkinson’s new three-year contract was up and away the most crucial piece of business this summer and now we can sit back and watch his close-season recruitment, which is likely to be focused on quality rather than quantity.
It was a policy which paid dividends in 2012/13 and one which Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn have already indicated they will roll out again next term. And it’s hard to disagree with that, despite the club’s bulging bank balance after the League Cup run.
The widely held opinion is that the squad is strong enough to hold its own in the league above and, with two or three shrewd signings, I genuinely think we could be challenging for the play offs again.
The club will be desperate to snap up Andrew Davies, who was the ‘real’ man-of-the-match at Wembley, and Nathan Doyle on new contracts, and after Parkinson, those two deals could be the most important of the summer.
It’s safe to say there will be no revolution, despite moving up a division, and why should there be after marching to promotion from the bottom tier after a mammoth 64-game season?
All of last season’s promoted teams managed survival in League One. Swindon finished 6th, Crawley 10th, Crewe 13th and Shrewsbury 16th. Without another unprecedented cup run – and I’m sure City would have been promoted automatically without our run to the Wembley cup final – the Bantams could easily be troubling the top 10 again.
Keeping hold of striking duo James Hanson and Nakhi Wells is obviously crucial, but I am already curious as to how the pair will do in England’s third tier. The duo finished the season strongly and, if they can get close to their 41-goal haul again, City will be there or thereabouts.
But despite the apparent strength of City’s first-choice forward line, Parky does need to strengthen it and he’s likely to make another striker his number one priority.
Alan Connell might well be suited to League One football. Swindon didn’t fancy him, but there again Paolo Di Canio was the man at the helm, but it would be no surprise to see Andy Gray’s contract severed this summer. Gray’s arrival has been the only blot on Parkinson’s transfer business and the 18-month deal he penned in January might well be consigned to the rubbish bin in the next month or so.
If that proves to be the case then the club will definitely be in the market for another frontman. Add to that a goalscoring midfielder and a stronger goalkeeper and Parky’s recruitment drive might well be over.