Bradford City boss Gary Bowyer has told the Telegraph and Argus that his injured players should be ready for the season opener against Cambridge in just under a fortnight’s time.
He’s currently missing four players, Jermaine Anderson, Shay McCartan, Paudie O’Connor and Zeli Ismail. The quartet missed their 1-1 draw with Wigan this weekend at Valley Parade, but should be in contention for a place in the squad against Colin Calderwood’s side a week on Saturday.
O’Connor and Ismail are new faces within the squad, McCartan is back from a season-long loan with Lincoln City and Anderson penned a new deal after joining last season on a six-month contract. Bowyer admitted he had ‘no concerns’ despite their absence at the weekend.
“There’s no concerns on that point,” he said when asked about the injuries.
“Jermaine had time at Guiseley, he’ll be back in today and Zeli shouldn’t be far away from it then either.
“To be honest, I’m disappointed a couple of them didn’t quite make it to play on Saturday. From our point of view, they are all out on the grass training and we’re just erring on the side of caution.”
The former Blackpool boss expects them to feature in the final pre-season friendlies ahead of the competition starting on the first Saturday of August.
“We’re now two weeks away from the start of the season and the last thing we needed to do was go silly and try to force to get minutes in and set them back. Hopefully then, they feature either tomorrow against Bradford (Park Avenue) or certainly next Saturday at Rochdale.”
The Bantams are back in the fourth tier for the first time since 2013, following six years in League One.
All four will be expected to play their part this season. O’Connor will be a key figure for the Bantams having made the move from Leeds and the last thing they want is to do him further damage ahead of the season kicking off.
McCartan could be a key player too. He won the League Two title with Lincoln City last season, bagging the goal that clinched promotion against Cheltenham Town as well as the Imps’ goal of the season for a stunning volley away at Swindon.
That experience, coupled with the energy of O’Connor and the strikeforce of Donaldson and Vaughan will surely have the Bantams around the top three for the coming campaign.