Bradford Telegraph and ArgusHigh hopes for Heaton in Bradford City defence (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

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High hopes for Niall Heaton in Bradford City defence

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Niall Heaton has signed a one-year deal at Valley Parade after returning to the City ranks from Liverpool Niall Heaton has signed a one-year deal at Valley Parade after returning to the City ranks from Liverpool

Niall Heaton, the young defender with the booming throw-in, has been urged to hurl himself into the City senior ranks next term.

Heaton, who turns 18 before pre-season, follows Oliver McBurnie into Phil Parkinson’s squad after signing a one-year deal.

Youth team boss Steve Thornber first played him as a left back to use the Pudsey-born youngster’s prodigious throw but he will join the professional set-up as a centre half.

Thornber said: “Left centre half is his best position but he is a utility player. Niall’s a bit like Carl McHugh – and might well take his place if he doesn’t sign.

“But he’s always had that fantastic long throw. If he progresses next year and does play in the first team, putting that on (James) Hanson’s head would be good.”

Heaton is in his second spell with City after leaving to join Liverpool in March 2011 as a 14-year-old. He went on to make 16 appearances for their under-18s before being released last summer to return to Valley Parade.

Thornber said: “We’ve got a good working relationship with Liverpool through the Andre Wisdom deal and things like that.

“The clubs liaised about trying to get some of the Andre money paid up front and it just came up in conversation about how Niall was doing.

“He had other players from different countries who were ahead of him and they decided at the end of his first year that he wasn’t going to be a Premier League player. So we agreed for him to come back and we took over the second year of his scholarship.

“He had been out injured at Liverpool and his fitness was a bit short. He struggled last pre-season but got stronger as the year progressed.”

Heaton’s improvement in form coincided with a switch back to the middle of defence, where he caught Parkinson’s eye in a reserve friendly at Leeds up against Republic of Ireland international Noel Hunt.

Thornber said: “Niall had played in the reserves at Sheffield Wednesday halfway through the season as a left back and struggled a bit on the ball.

“I knew if we were going to keep him playing there, it wouldn’t have done his confidence any good. Moving forward, the best thing would be to put him at centre half.

“He played a couple of matches there and was outstanding against Leeds. He marked a couple of their first-team players out of the game and I know the manager was impressed with that.

“It was just a pity he did his ankle, which kept him out for three weeks at the same time as a couple in the first team picked up injuries. Losing the likes of Andrew Davies and Rory McArdle could have given him a chance but he was injured.

“It’s a big step coming into the first-team environment from the youth team. The tempo is a lot quicker so your fitness needs to be right.

“Niall has got the strength and size and this is a big opportunity for him.”

Comments (6)

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9:17am Mon 26 May 14

Freddy says...

*
Off TOPIC. I did not want 'Rov'Ram' to win. BUT--Having watched their Manager--Evans- during the match, and on interview afterwards. I feel there must be very serious concern, about this man's health. He is in very great danger of having either a stroke , or heart attack, or BOTH.
I suspect he is diabetic and is obviously obese. The Board at ' Rov ' Ram ' must consider his continuation, as their Manager, in his present dangerous and unhealthy condition.
*
I hope Nial Heaton makes it into the first team. Experience would warn him that senior opposition players, will give him a very hard time. It can destroy a young players confidence and ability. But, I hope he takes that rough ride, in his stride.
*
* Off TOPIC. I did not want 'Rov'Ram' to win. BUT--Having watched their Manager--Evans- during the match, and on interview afterwards. I feel there must be very serious concern, about this man's health. He is in very great danger of having either a stroke , or heart attack, or BOTH. I suspect he is diabetic and is obviously obese. The Board at ' Rov ' Ram ' must consider his continuation, as their Manager, in his present dangerous and unhealthy condition. * I hope Nial Heaton makes it into the first team. Experience would warn him that senior opposition players, will give him a very hard time. It can destroy a young players confidence and ability. But, I hope he takes that rough ride, in his stride. * Freddy
  • Score: 0

11:42am Mon 26 May 14

tyker7745 says...

Freddy wrote:
*
Off TOPIC. I did not want 'Rov'Ram' to win. BUT--Having watched their Manager--Evans- during the match, and on interview afterwards. I feel there must be very serious concern, about this man's health. He is in very great danger of having either a stroke , or heart attack, or BOTH.
I suspect he is diabetic and is obviously obese. The Board at ' Rov ' Ram ' must consider his continuation, as their Manager, in his present dangerous and unhealthy condition.
*
I hope Nial Heaton makes it into the first team. Experience would warn him that senior opposition players, will give him a very hard time. It can destroy a young players confidence and ability. But, I hope he takes that rough ride, in his stride.
*
are uou really concerned. best picture of the day was a very red puffing billy running down he touch line. realising he had gone too far as his trousers were coming down!!
[quote][p][bold]Freddy[/bold] wrote: * Off TOPIC. I did not want 'Rov'Ram' to win. BUT--Having watched their Manager--Evans- during the match, and on interview afterwards. I feel there must be very serious concern, about this man's health. He is in very great danger of having either a stroke , or heart attack, or BOTH. I suspect he is diabetic and is obviously obese. The Board at ' Rov ' Ram ' must consider his continuation, as their Manager, in his present dangerous and unhealthy condition. * I hope Nial Heaton makes it into the first team. Experience would warn him that senior opposition players, will give him a very hard time. It can destroy a young players confidence and ability. But, I hope he takes that rough ride, in his stride. *[/p][/quote]are uou really concerned. best picture of the day was a very red puffing billy running down he touch line. realising he had gone too far as his trousers were coming down!! tyker7745
  • Score: 7

1:19pm Mon 26 May 14

pokertee says...

I wish he had tried to do a lap of the pitch. :-0
I wish he had tried to do a lap of the pitch. :-0 pokertee
  • Score: 4

2:16pm Mon 26 May 14

tyker7745 says...

he would not have made it.
he would not have made it. tyker7745
  • Score: 4

4:16pm Mon 26 May 14

ship1962 says...

Off topic. Another forum site indicates phil parkinson may be on the move due to budget, how much this is true? Forum sites being as they are, then it could/should be questioned as one never knows! Saw this lad in the recent cup final a excellent prospect!
Off topic. Another forum site indicates phil parkinson may be on the move due to budget, how much this is true? Forum sites being as they are, then it could/should be questioned as one never knows! Saw this lad in the recent cup final a excellent prospect! ship1962
  • Score: 2

3:04pm Tue 27 May 14

Michael Clayton says...

tyker7745 wrote:
he would not have made it.
I think you missed the joke that Pokertee was making.
[quote][p][bold]tyker7745[/bold] wrote: he would not have made it.[/p][/quote]I think you missed the joke that Pokertee was making. Michael Clayton
  • Score: -1

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