Mark Hughes might be a gamble for Bradford City but he can bring stability to Valley Parade - Sue Smith

League Two Bradford City have taken a gamble by appointing a manager with no experience outside of top-level football as a player or a manager after more than three years out of the game, but I believe it can work.

Every managerial appointment is a risk but I think a big name like Mark Hughes coming into the club will give a boost to the players and the fans after a difficult season at Valley Parade.

It has certainly got plenty of attention.

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As a player, Hughes played top-division football in England, Spain and Germany, and international football for Wales, who he managed before taking charge of various Premier League teams. His last job was in December 2018, though.

NEW HOPE: For Bradford City after Mark Hughes's arrival this week. Picture: James Hardisty

The question is how much has the game changed since he has been out of it, and how well prepared is he for that? The answer depends on how he has been spending that time out of the game.

I do not think first-hand experience of the particular level you are working at really matters if you are a big manager.

He said in his first press conference as Bradford manager he thinks his skills will be transferable and I agree. You think of the teams Hughes has managed and what he has done with them and straight away you think he is going to get lots out of the players.

You still have to set teams up and organise them, tactically change things within a game and man-manage your players – all things you have to do at the top level too.

SACKED: Derek Adams was dismissed by Bradford earlier this month. Picture: Tony Johnson

Paul Ince has also returned to management after a long absence recently, taking caretaker control of Reading eight years after leaving Blackpool and winning his first game. He had the advantage that his son Tom signed for the Royals in January, so he clearly would have been watching them closely but I would hope Hughes has done his homework and is across League Two now.

Chopping and changing managers seems to work for Chelsea and to a lesser extent Watford but if you look at all the changes at Valley Parade – 10 managers since 2018, 10 players signed in the summer, eight more last month – it all suggests a club that needs time and stability to get back to where it should be.

Hughes will be yet another new voice to get used to and bring yet another new way of doing things.

But the interest and expectation caused by his appointment will be huge and not something he will be afraid of after the career he has had. He must have looked at Bradford and felt he can do something with them.

Automatic promotion was always the aim this season but even the play-offs are starting to look a long way off now.

If they do not make it this season, at least it will give Hughes 13 games to assess the squad and having a pre-season will be important.

He needs to get them consistent and create a style of play the fans can get behind. Clearly that was a big issue behind Derek Adams’s sacking, with complaints on the terraces that his football was not positive enough.

Hughes will have to be mindful of that but with the crowds Bradford get, if supporters are excited about the appointment and he can build on it with football they can get behind, that stadium will create a fear in opposition teams at League Two level.

If I was a centre-forward who played for Bradford now or if Hughes wanted to sign me, I would be thinking how much he could improve me as a player. They might not all have been old enough to have seen him play, which is a pretty sobering thought considering I used to watch him at Everton, but they would probably still Google him and see he has worked with some of the very best as a player and a manager.

One of the reasons I signed for Doncaster Belles was the chance to work with John Buckley, who had been a left winger and people told me was my type of player and we have seen with Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa what a draw he has been when he tried to sign top players.

For players and for fans, these are exciting times at Valley Parade, and after a miserable time of it in recent years, I feel quite positive for the Bantams’ future.