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Hard work paying off for Aaron Mclean at Bradford City
Fond memories will come flooding back for Aaron Mclean today as he looks to build on his breakthrough City goal.
Shrewsbury was where it all began for the striker with his first appearance on the scoresheet 13 years ago.
Mclean, whose smart finish against Gillingham last week took his career tally to 138, can still vividly recall that opener.
He said: “I was only 17 at the time and playing for Leyton Orient. It was at Shrewsbury’s old ground and I’d just come off the bench.
“The cross came in and I scored with a diving header. I was buzzing because it was a big moment – I can still remember it.
“I’ve always had hard games against Shrewsbury, early on with Orient and then for Peterborough. But I’ve never forgotten that goal.”
His first in a City shirt was just as memorable, whipping home Adam Drury’s low pass right under the eyes of the Kop.
After ten previous appearances without a goal, it felt appropriate for Mclean to break his duck in front of the noisiest end of Valley Parade.
“It’s always good to score at home because of the fans and they have been brilliant with me,” said the striker.
“I was told before I came here that they appreciate people who work hard and I try to do that every game.
“They’ve been so supportive on my Twitter account and when I see fans on the street. They notice the hard work.
“As a player, if you don’t score you still have to contribute something for the team. You won’t get a goal every week.
“You’ll have periods when you don’t score and others when everything you touch will go in.
“But whether you’re scoring or not, you have to make sure you are still contributing to the team. Your team-mates will appreciate you and so will the fans.”
Mclean’s workrate has not been questioned during his two-month wait to get off the mark. Phil Parkinson praised him for “causing chaos” in the win at Colchester, even though he spurned several scoring chances.
Mclean said: “You have to keep believing in yourself, getting in the right positions and making the right runs. Something will drop to you.
“I always thought my first goal would be a scruffy one but it was a nice finish in the end from a really good move.
“But apart from at Brentford, we’ve put in some good performances in the last four or five games.
“It’s started to come together with the new players we’ve brought in. It’s really starting to gel now and we look like a proper team.
“As long as everyone’s up for it, we work for each other and keep reproducing those energy levels on and off the ball, then things will tend to drop for you.”
* City’s Youth Alliance (northern section) Cup final against Hull will take place at Valley Parade next Saturday at 11am. Admission is free to the main stand.
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