Shrewsbury Town v Bradford City: Michael Collins confident Bantams will impress

New striker: Eoin Doyle has joined Bradford
New striker: Eoin Doyle has joined Bradford
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OUT with the old and in with the new has very much been the Bradford City way this summer.

Fifteen signings have been made along with the implementation of a new management set-up, led by the youngest head coach in the Football League.

Michael Collins’s job is to make this leap of faith by the Bantams’ board work, starting with today’s trip to Shrewsbury Town.

“No one truly knows what to expect on the opening day,” the former Huddersfield Town midfielder told The Yorkshire Post. “I know that from my own career.

“The day can be completely different to everything you see in pre-season. Players are always itching to get into that first game of the season. That is only natural and we have seen it this week.

“In fact we had to calm them down in training on Thursday. They were totally at it, showing me how much they are looking forward to starting the season.

“I felt it myself as a player. You can have the best intentions in pre-season, saying this is a game where we want to steps things up.

“But the opening day does that to players naturally. It gives you that something extra and the levels have gone up this week with the carrot of that first game right in front of the group. The lads are in good shape.”

Such has been the turnover in personnel at City since the 2017-18 season ended in a disappointing 11th-place finish that only Nathaniel Knight-Percival is still at the club from the starting XI in the club’s last outing at Valley Parade, a 1-1 draw against Walsall on May 1.

Charlie Wyke was the most recent of those to leave, completing his switch to Sunderland on Wednesday night as Collins welcomed Eoin Doyle to Bradford from Preston North End as the club’s new ‘ No 9’.

Doyle, who netted 16 times on loan for Oldham Athletic in League One last term, may have to wait for his debut as Collins looks to mark his bow in the dugout with all three points against last season’s beaten play-off finalists.

“Every game we go into looking to win,” said the Bantams’ chief. “I am not one to say, ‘A draw will do us today’. That is not how we think.

“The important thing is we remain level-headed regardless of how we start. If it takes us a while to find our feet then that is how it is.

“But I trust these players. We have spent five weeks together now and have built a good relationship. They have my full support because I know they will give me everything.”