The veteran midfielder is back training with Bolton after his contract ran out in the summer – and is one of a dozen players hoping to secure a new deal if a takeover is sorted quickly.
Erhun Oztumer created the first goal for Dennis Politic before Bradford drew level from the penalty spot before half time.
The Wanderers winner came from Luke Murphy’s deflected shot after the break.
Familiar faces Harry Brockbank, David Wheater and Will Buckley featured in the match, which was arranged at short notice by Phil Parkinson to keep his players as sharp as possible after the cancellation of the Preston friendly.
That the players were out there at all could be a positive sign. Wanderers’ squad did not want to risk injury by playing against Chester last week – and when Preston pressed for an answer on Saturday as to whether their game would be competitive, an end to the takeover saga did not look close enough to give a guarantee.
Wanderers were also able to take a look at defender Adam Thompson, who helped Bury to promotion from League Two last season and has played international for Northern Ireland.
Billy Clarke, Craig Conway and Ben Pringle also came on in the second half.