Bantams boss wants to see Gray battle his way into first-team frame after goal-den comeback (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bantams boss wants to see Andy Gray battle his way into first-team frame after goal-den comeback
Andy Gray has been urged to “get cracking” in his bid to revive his second stint with Bradford City.
The 35-year-old made a scoring return from his broken arm in a private friendly at York earlier this week.
Gray came through 70 minutes without any obvious discomfort and Phil Parkinson is hoping the veteran striker can now push himself back towards the first-team picture.
Parkinson said: “It’s good to have him back. He is an experienced player.
“One thing you can never fault Andy Gray for is lack of effort. He couldn’t have done much more in the summer in terms of the work he put in to get back in shape.
“Then he broke his arm in pre-season and has had to work incredibly hard again to give himself this chance.
“He has been training with us quite a while but not so much in terms of full contact. That’s why I’m pleased for Andy to go out there and get a goal.
“He had the confidence in his arm to play and to hold off people.
"The specialist was happy for him to play with a light strapping on it and there wasn’t a problem. Now he needs to get cracking.”
After signing in January, Gray made eight appearances last season without getting off the mark. He played just twice in the final 17 games, the last in the dead goalless draw at Cheltenham before the play-offs.
Parkinson added: “It was difficult for Andy last year. Hans really kicked on when he came in and he never really got the run of games to get going again.
“The challenge for him now is to make an impact for us. He’s doing all he can at the moment.”
Rory McArdle is back in training today after a week away with Northern Ireland. He didn’t play in either World Cup qualifier and Parkinson spoke to him in Luxembourg on Tuesday to monitor what work he has been doing.
Jason Kennedy suffered a whack on the foot at the start of the week but that has since calmed down. Matt Taylor is also being treated for a stiff back.
Colchester are trying to bring in a new left back in time for Valley Parade because of a mystery fitness problem affecting former Bantams loanee Ryan Dickson.
The defender has been hit by sickness in their last two games and lasted only 17 minutes against Coventry on Sunday.
Dickson has been told to stay home and rest after undergoing blood tests. Boss Joe Dunne said: “He’s frustrated because he wants it sorted.”
City signed Dickson around the same time as Gray when James Meredith was struck down by glandular fever.
But he was restricted to just six outings before an ankle injury was diagnosed that needed a season-ending operation.
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