Matty Dolan has snubbed Championship interest to link up with City for the rest of the season.
The Middlesbrough midfielder is joining on a maximum 93-day loan – and is set to go straight in for tomorrow’s home clash against Crewe with Nathan Doyle suspended.
Phil Parkinson had to wait until today’s opening of the emergency window to get the 20-year-old after City ran out of time before the January deadline. He fills the gap left by Ricky Ravenhill’s move to Northampton.
The Bantams had to beat off late interest from two other clubs, one of them thought to be Yeovil – where Dolan played on loan in last season’s promotion campaign from League One.
Parkinson said: “There were a couple of other clubs interested in Matty on deadline day. He’s an intelligent lad and he’d looked at Bradford, the support and the potential and he wanted to come on board.
“We speak about it a lot. The players we try to get in have all got that hunger about them and it’s taken this club a long way and Matty is of that ilk.
“Matty played against us for Hartlepool and I’ve also seen him play for Middlesbrough under-21s at Man United a couple of weeks ago.
“He’s got hunger in his game and a desire to be a player and that’s what I like about him.
“He’s got a terrific left foot and the ability to play a killer pass. He looks forward early when he gets the ball.”
Dolan was a regular for Hartlepool during the first half of the season. Like fellow loan signings Adam Reach and Chris Atkinson, he does not need to play his way up to speed.
Parkinson added: “We haven’t got time for that to happen. There were other players in Premier League reserve teams who we possibly could have got.
“But we weighed everything up and Matty’s youthfulness is something we wanted to add to the squad. The fact he is used to league football is important and we felt he is the right one to bring on.
“He’s a different type of footballer to Ricky and hopefully our supporters will see that sooner rather than later.
“We just needed some fresh legs in that midfield and we’ve got that in. They are players we can have a look at going forward for the club.”
Kyle Bennett is back from suspension and James Hanson and Andrew Davies are also expected to start against the second worst travellers in the division.
City are still chasing a first win in 2014 – and first at home since the end of September. But Parkinson is confident of turning the corner.
Parkinson said: “There are 18 games to go and this is the squad now. There may be another defender coming in (at left back) but I’m not even sure that will happen.
“If it doesn’t, I’m happy with what we’ve got. We’ve got a strong squad with competition in all places.
“We’ve had a massive change-around and I’m very confident we can really finish the season in good fashion. We’re determined to do that.
“We’ve come a long way as a squad and staff at this club and now it’s time to roll our sleeves up and make sure every performance is a top one.”
After successive games when City have had players sent off in the first half-hour, Parkinson wants to see his team back on the front foot and supplying the strikers with ammunition.
“We’ve got to work on the strength of our players. Getting the best out of the front two is really important.
“We’ve always been a team that at our best play to the strengths of our front men. We’ve had an ‘up and at ’em’ approach when needed to get at the opposition back four.
“We really need to utilise Aaron Mclean. I know he came off early against Wolves but he’s had a terrific week on the training pitch.”
City will not be pursuing their interest in Spanish left back Christian Fernandez, who had been on trial earlier this week.
Matthew Bates will continue to keep the role – and is looking to break his Valley Parade duck. His only City win was their last victory at MK Dons in November.
Bates said: “I don’t think it’s lack of confidence at all. It’s easy to say but I think we have been quite unlucky in a few games where we’ve dominated play and they’ve got a lucky break and we’ve conceded.”
*The Court of Arbitration for Sport have adjourned their verdict on City’s Mark Stewart appeal once again until Friday, February 28.