Bantams bid boosted as club finally exit administration

Bradford City v Walsall Ian Appleyard THE Football League have lifted the transfer embargo imposed on Bradford City following the club's exit from a nine-month spell in administration.

Manager Colin Todd, who has been limited to a squad of 18 players since taking charge in the summer, is now able to strengthen the club's push for promotion to the Championship.

Former Sheffield Wednesday winger Owen Morrison, who had been training with the Bantams for several weeks, was immediately signed on loan from Stockport County and could make his debut in today's home game against Walsall.

Former chief executive Julian Rhodes acquired control of the club after reaching an agreement with former chairman Gordon Gibb, whose family's pension fund, own the Valley Parade stadium.

He has paid around 900,000 to settle the club's outstanding debts and complete the Company Voluntary Arrangement.

Bradford have struggled financially since being relegated from the Premiership three years ago and spent an earlier spell in administration between May-August 2002.

The club issued a statement saying: "Now the club is no longer in administration, it will be able to increase the size of the playing squad and be free from a significant amount of the restrictions placed on it whilst in administration.

"The new company acknowledges the help and support it has received from the various stakeholders and is looking forward to ensuring a more stable and successful future for the club and its fans."

Bradford, who have overcome their financial problems to mount a genuine challenge for promotion, are likely to be without Dean Windass, who suffered a torn calf last week, although the influential striker has made a far quicker recovery than first expected.

With former Norwich striker Zema Abbey still out suspended, it means that youngsters Danny Forrest and Michael Symes will start together in attack for only the second time.

Winger Nicky Summerbee is available again after serving a one-match ban.

Walsall are set to give a debut to former Chesterfield striker Marvin Robinson who joined until club from Rushden and Diamonds this week.

Colin Todd: "Nothing surprises me with (Dean) Windass. We will wait and see. If he is fit, and 'if' is a big word, then it would be a big, big bonus."

Last time: Bradford 1 Walsall 1,

November 8, 2003. Championship.

League Positions: Bradford 5th,

Walsall 14th.

Key man: Lewis Emanuel.