Bradford City v Carlisle United: Mark Hughes hoping to send Bantams fans into the summer with smiles on their faces

TODAY’S attendance figure will provide Mark Hughes with yet more statistical evidence – not that it is particularly required – as to the huge potential of Bradford City going forward.

A crowd of around 17,000 – a gathering that puts a fair number of second-tier clubs to shame – is expected at the Utilita Energy Stadium.

A little bit of hope heading into the summer is craved before Hughes builds a side in his own image. There will be expectation and the City chief wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hughes said: “That does not faze me whatsoever. That’s the expectation and I don’t think anybody can deny that people will be watching what we are doing and how we are performing and what we are able to achieve – and we will be judged on that.

Bradford City manager Mark Hughes is looking forward to a summer of positivity. Picture: Tony Johnson

“That’s not been a problem for me, expectation comes hand in hand with the job. You can’t pull the wool over people’s eyes when they know you have potential to get out of a league or be successful in cups or whatever.

“That’s why I will always run with expectation.”

City have provided some pockets of positivity at the tail end of another under-whelming season and Hughes is conscious of the need to sign off by giving long-suffering fans something.

He added: “It’s important. The last day of the season with a huge crowd; people want to be happy with the thought that next season, on the basis on what we have seen at the end of this season, we can have a real go.

FINGERS CROSSED: Abo Eisa may return to action for Bradford City this afternoon Picture: James Williamson/Getty Images)

“We want to finish on a high, everyone does. We want to give people good feelings of what will go ahead.”

Today’s game could also have significance for one home player in Abo Eisa, who has endured an injury-ravaged first season at City due to a serious hamstring injury which necessitated surgery.

The winger has yet to feature under Hughes, but could be afforded a psychological fillip by way of his first Bantams appearance since late November this afternoon, most likely from the bench.

Hughes continued: “It could be nice maybe for his own mental strength next season that he is over the hurdle over getting back to play and it has been put to bed. He’s very, very close.”

Memorial activities to mark the 37th anniversary of the Valley Parade Fire Disaster will take place ahead of kick-off.

Hughes commented: “We know we represent the city and the football club. We will never not recognise that and we will always be aware of that.”