Bradford City midfielder Yeates: I'm not here to make up the numbers (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City midfielder Mark Yeates: I'm not here to make up the numbers
Mark Yeates is determined to prove he is no Bradford City write-off next season.
The Irish midfielder endured a disappointing first year at Valley Parade and made just 11 starts.
Hailed as the major signing of last summer, the former Watford playmaker knows he is yet to convince the City faithful.
But Yeates, who did feature for the final two games of the campaign, believes he can still make his mark given the opportunity.
He said: “I’m my biggest critic and know that I should have done better overall. But to only start ten league games is probably the least I’ve had anywhere in my career.
“But I signed for Bradford City for two years and I don’t see why next season can’t be an exciting one.
“I’ve moved up here to play football and settle in the area. I’ve got two young daughters under the age of two and a girlfriend and we all love living in Guiseley.
“Outside of football, it’s been brilliant. But of course it’s been a frustrating season for me, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t.
“Every player that trains day in, day out all week wants to have a game at the end of it and I’m no different.
“Nobody can foretell what’s going to happen. Anything can change from day to day, let alone over a ten-week period through the summer.
“But I want to be more involved next season. From the sound of what’s been said, they want to have a real go at trying to push for a play-off spot.
“Any footballer would want to be involved in that environment.”
The 29-year-old’s progress has been further hampered by a nagging knee problem, which has affected him on and off since last pre-season. Yeates admitted it has had an impact on his set-piece ability.
He added: “I opened up the medial ligament in the knee and don’t think it’s fully healed since. A lot of clubs that have signed me because of set-pieces and dead balls and I’ve found it hard to even hit corners at times without getting pain in my knee.
“But I won’t use that as an excuse. It’s just been one of those frustrating seasons because I haven’t played enough football.
“Sheffield United away was a tough game. I wasn’t fully fit and didn’t do myself justice.
“That was the game probably a lot of people saw and judged me on.
“Any player will tell you that it’s tough coming off the bench for ten or 15 minutes, especially when we were going through a difficult patch as well.
“We were chasing games. Of course you want to be the hero and make that impact for the side but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way.
“Reachy (Adam Reach) then came in on loan and hit the ground running. And I was out for his first six games at the club because I had two injections in my knee.
“I would have liked to play more after that but it was great to finish the season back in the side. I was also in on merit.
“That was the best thing for me because I didn’t want to just get given a game. You want to earn your chance and hopefully I did that with the way that I’d been in training.”
* City have confirmed they will play a pre-season friendly against Blackburn at Valley Parade on Saturday, July 26.
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