BRADFORD CITY head coach Michael Collins believes today’s derby opponents Barnsley are the benchmark for the League One promotion race.
The Reds head to Valley Parade buoyed by a 4-0 opening day win over Oxford United.
It was the perfect start under new head coach Daniel Stendel, who was further boosted this week by the transfer window for permanent deals closing with no high-profile departures from Oakwell.
Collins’s side will also go into the third tier’s first all-Yorkshire derby of the season on the back of a win but he admits that Barnsley will be a big test.
“There will be 18,000 here and it will be some occasion,” said the Bradford chief. “The atmosphere will be frantic, as I believe they have sold out the full allocation.
“Having watched Barnsley, we are under no illusions as to the size of the task.
“I would go on record to say that whoever finishes above Barnsley will be playing Championship football next season. Football can change very quickly, of course. Two or three weeks down the line and I might give you a different answer. But against a very strong Oxford side, Barnsley were just too much for them.”
Also in derby action on the second weekend of the new Football League season are Sheffield Wednesday, who host Hull City.
Having watched Barnsley, we are under no illusions as to the size of the task.