Happy days are here again for Oliver as he makes long-awaited comeback for Bantams (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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'I'm absolutely buzzing', says Luke Oliver as he makes long-awaited comeback for Bantams
Luke Oliver banished 11 months of hurt with his City comeback and declared: I can’t stop smiling.
Phil Parkinson’s men continued their flying start to move up to fifth with a 4-0 win over Brentford.
But Oliver’s return was the high spot as he came through his first game since snapping an Achilles last October at Burton.
The big defender said: “I’ve had a secret goal since I’ve been injured to come back and play a first-team game at Valley Parade.
“I was delighted to be given that opportunity. It was such a relief to draw a line under the injury.
“I was quietly confident I would get through the game and I’m absolutely buzzing.”
Oliver got the nod ahead of Matt Taylor after City’s plans to fly back Rory McArdle from Belfast in time to play were blocked by Northern Ireland.
Parkinson had considered sending the former player of the year out on loan for match practice – but that won’t happen now.
The City chief said: “We looked at him in training and felt he had really come on in the last seven to ten days.
“I’m so pleased for him because throughout everything that went on last season, he was always the first in the dressing room to wish the lads all the best.
“He was there with us for the celebrations and was really part of the group. He got his rewards for all the hard work.
“It’s not just me but all the rest of the team are so happy for him because they hold him in such high regard. The standing ovation the supporters gave him when he came off was great and he fully deserved it.
“People don’t see those hours and hours he spent in the gym at the training ground. He’s always been on time and worked to the absolute maximum.”
Fellow centre half Andrew Davies showered praise on his partner’s display. He said on Twitter: “Luke has worked so hard and it was a pleasure – like we have never been apart.”
James Hanson scored twice, with Nahki Wells and Garry Thompson sealing the win – all the goals coming after Brentford were reduced to ten men. Keeper David Button was sent off for a reckless challenge on City top scorer Wells.
Oliver added: “It was very brave of Nahki to put his foot in there and take the tackle because he knew it was coming. I thought it was quite naughty and could have done a lot of damage.
“But I’ve never been so happy to see one of the other team get sent off because I knew it would turn into an easier afternoon.
“Sitting at the back there I could see we’ve got quality all over the pitch. The whole place is on the up.”
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