Huddersfield Town loanee Jack Payne opened his account for the club by scoring the only goal of the game at defeated play-off finalists Shrewsbury Town.
After prevailing at New Meadow, Collins reflected: “There’s a real togetherness and I see that every day in training.
“I just knew that when the chips are down that men will stand strong and take the fight forward – and that’s what they’ve done.
“It’s an emotional game whether you’re a player or a member of staff.
“But I said from day one that I have a trust and belief in these players.”
Collins handed out 11 Bantams debuts, with nine summer signings starting against the Shrews.
The Bantams started brightly with the 1,400-plus away contingent firmly behind the side despite a disappointing campaign last time around.
Payne, who began his career with Southend nine years ago, looked lively and continuously got in behind the hosts’ defence early on.
The Terriers’ 23-year-old, who had spells at Oxford and Blackburn last season, had his just rewards after 20 minutes as George Millers did well to attack the byline and get a ball to the edge of the area for the forward to fire past Joel Coleman.
Down at the other end Chelsea loanee Charlie Colkett did well to find space before blasting over the bar.
Debutant and former Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell produced a fine save to deny Kieran Kennedy’s header and keep the visitors’ lead intact.
After the break the Shrews hit the bar twice as the Bantams had to hang on for all three points.
O’Donnell, who left Northampton following relegation, was well beaten by Josh Laurent, who failed to take advantage of the follow-up as he put it wide.
Alex Gilliead came close to adding a second when he struck the bar from long distance.
At the finish, Tyrell Robinson’s volley was turned away by Coleman.
Shrewsbury Town: Coleman, Bolton, Kennedy, Sadler, Beckles, Loft (Grant, 66), Colkett (Gilliead, 74), Laurent, Whalley, Amadei-Holloway, Payne (Okenabirhie, 81). Unused substitutes: Arnold, Haynes, John-Lewis, Barnett.
Bradford City: O’Donnell, Mellor, O’Connor, Knight-Percival, Chicksen, Wright, Akpan (Seedorf, 86), Riley (Doyle, 66), Payne, Scannell (Robinson, 77), Miller. Unused substitutes: Wilson, McGowan, Hudson, Brunkler.
Referee: K Johnson (Weston-Super-Mare).