Bradford City’s recruitment on the right side of ambition as they look to build ‘the project’

Another new signing, another new job for Mark Trueman; this time of year can sometimes go a bit dead in the world of club football, but Bradford City are pressing ahead with their rebuild for next season.

New Bradford recruit - Lee Angol of Leyton Orient (Picture: Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

Striker Lee Angol yesterday became the League Two club’s fourth summer signing and less than two weeks after signing a new three-year contract to work as a link between the academy and the first team, Trueman has gone from middle man to Derek Adams’s assistant manager.

In December the 33-year-old was working in the club’s academy before taking over control of the first team, jointly with Conor Sellars. The pair saved the Bantams from relegation but they paid the price for the season fizzling out having raised hopes of making the play-offs.

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“Derek feels we have strengths which can complement each other’s,” explained Trueman.

Re-signing Sam Hornby of Bradford City. (Picture: Ben Early - AMA/Getty Images)

“I learned an awful lot from my time in charge of the first team, and have reflected on everything which has happened over the past six or seven months.

“I am grateful to Derek for the opportunity to work alongside him and continue to learn, and am determined to repay his faith by helping us achieve our goal of promotion next season.”

The idea of continuity appealed to Adams.

“Mark did a brilliant job as manager with Conor Sellars last season, and I am very keen to work alongside him,” he said.

Derek Adams in the press conference as he is announced as the new Bradford City manager (Picture: Thomas Gadd)

“I spoke to a number of other individuals but when I spoke to Mark he was clear in explaining his ethos on the game and the football club. I thought it was important to get a feel for him and vice-versa.

“I always believe in looking at those you have inside the club, who know the culture and are here with the foundations.”

Similar thinking has seen new contracts for Sam Hornby, Charlie Wood, Harvey Rowe, Kian Scales, Matty Foulds and Jorge Sikora, who are joined by new signings Oskar Threlkeld, Abo Eisa and Andy Cook. With changes to the performance department, Adams has been quick to make his mark having only joined after guiding Morecambe to victory in the League Two play-offs.

At 26 years-old, Tottenham Hotspur youth product Angol’s record is not one to strike fear into opponents, a free agent after seven goals in 33 appearances of two Leyton Orient seasons.

“It has come out of nowhere a little bit,” he admitted.

But an experienced manager like Adams has seen “a dangerous forward who will bring a lot to our side”, and the club has backed him.

Decisive action is no guarantee of anything – in January the Bantams made nine signings but still did not get back to where they want to be. It does, however, say this is a club with a manager who knows the direction he wants to go in, and who is being supported from above. After that it will be down to him and his players to show he has made the right decisions more often than not.

It is noticeable how many clubs have already signed players who were regulars for their clubs last season, but whose contracts were allowed to run down.

Throughout the Football League – with the exception of the parachute regiment Sheffield United are part of who are receiving huge compensation for being relegated from the Premier League – there will be few transfer fees spent.

Especially for League Two clubs it is about finding the right characters and although everything a new signing says has to be taken with a pinch of salt, the noises have been encouraging.

As a former Premier League club in the fourth tier, they need to be ambitious but not arrogant.

“This club has shown a lot of ambition by bringing Derek Adams in,” said Eisa, recognising a track record heavy with lower-league promotions. “We want to get promoted, as the gaffer has said in his press conferences. I like that kind of expectation.”

Threlkeld pushed it a step forward: “In my eyes, we belong in the Championship.”

Angol and Eisa both spoke of “the project”. It might be the sort of 21st Century footballing buzzword so cheesy as to make some want to vomit, but it shows Adams has been articulating a plan about how to get out of the division that players who know this level of football believe in.

Goalkeeper Hornby’s two-year contract was significant too, a clear indication to captain Richard O’Donnell that no one’s place is safe. Being the exemplary professional he is, O’Donnell was quickly on Twitter to congratulate his rival.

Ultimately all the projects and ambitions in the world count for nothing if the signings are not up to scratch or the players do not deliver, but at least Bradford will start pre-season with a clear idea of where they are going, organised for the journey ahead.