Gray cloud lifts: Words of encouragement from Parkinson for Bantams striker (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Gray cloud lifts: Words of encouragement from Bantams boss for striker back on the scene after year to forget
Phil Parkinson insists Andy Gray will have a role to play in the remainder of City’s season.
The veteran striker stepped in for the injured James Hanson at Wolves to make his first start since promotion.
Hanson is hoping to return to training today after an injection in his hamstring earlier this week. But Gray will be on stand-by to deputise again for the Valley Parade clash with Crewe on Saturday.
Gray’s last home game was almost a year ago against Dagenham, three days after the Capital One Cup final.
With Aaron Mclean sacrificed before half-time at Molineux following Nathan Doyle’s red card, Gray was left to plough a lonely furrow up front.
But Parkinson was pleased with his effort in a losing cause – and hopes it is a sign that the 36-year-old forward’s luck is changing.
He said: “Andy came in and did well in James Hanson’s place. He held the ball up well and gave a good account of himself considering he hasn’t played much football this year for one reason or another.”
Gray has had a tough time since returning to the club in last year’s January transfer window.
Unable to force his way past Hanson during City’s play-off charge, he then broke his arm in the opening game of pre-season.
Gray came on to score at Peterborough in his first appearance just before Christmas but he also damaged a nerve after suffering a dead leg, which kept him out for a further month.
Parkinson said: “Sometimes people look at signings and say they haven’t done this or that. But as a manager or chairman, you’ve got to look at the reasons behind that.
“When Andy signed, he was a player in need of a run of ten games because he’d gone six months without playing. But he didn’t get that because Hanson played so well in that period.
“Come the summer, Andy broke his arm against Guiseley, which hasn’t helped him.
“Then there was Peterborough, which for me was the day our supporters started seeing what Andy Gray can do. He scored a good goal but also got the injury.
“That’s completely gone now and he’s looking sharp again. Andy offers us technical ability and he can score. He’s a boost for us.”
Mark Yeates could be back in contention for the weekend after a second injection to settle an on-going knee problem. The Irishman has not made the squad for the last two games.
Parkinson said: “Yeatesy’s knee hasn’t been great for a while. He had a problem with his medial ligament but he’s getting better and hopefully he will be close.”
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