The best of times, the worst of times: Gray on his personal torment at Bradford City (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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The best of times, the worst of times: Andy Gray on his personal torment at Bradford City
Andy Gray today summed up his doomed return to Valley Parade as “one step forward and two back.”
The 36-year-old played just 16 times for City, scoring once, after rejoining in January last year. He agreed to cancel his contract on Wednesday.
Gray, who scored 21 goals in 81 games during his first spell at the club in the Championship, admitted it had been a hugely-frustrating episode.
“It never really got going,” he said. “The time I was there was a big success for the club in getting to Wembley and winning promotion but from a personal point of view it didn’t work. I don’t think I played more than two or three games on the bounce so I couldn’t build up a rhythm or match fitness.
“I came into the club having not played regularly at Leeds so I had no football in me. I haven’t really played for two years now, other than sporadically.
“It’s impossible when you are over 35 to play at your best in that situation.”
Gray’s troubles this term began in the opening pre-season friendly when he broke his arm against Guiseley.
Then, when he made his first appearance at Peterborough in December, a goal-scoring return was marred by a damaged nerve in his leg which meant another lengthy lay-off.
And Gray found out after his final City outing, the awful home loss to Walsall in March, that he had been playing with a bout of shingles.
He added: “The Peterborough game probably sums up my whole time. It was nice to get back on the pitch and score but obviously I got the injury that ruled me out once again.
“I’d come back to pre-season aiming to hit the ground running only to break my arm and then suffered another setback. It was always one step forward and two back.
“Even when I made my first start at Wolves, we were down to ten men within half an hour away to the top team in the league. It was an impossible job after that.
“I didn’t feel 100 per cent for the Walsall game but didn’t see the doctor until afterwards when he said what it was straight away.
“I felt totally wiped out for a week or so. I was quite fortunate because it can last a lot longer but it wasn’t the best way to play my last game.
“I’ve been quite lucky in my career with injuries but then all these problems have come at once. That’s just how it’s been.”
Gray is expected to hang up his boots – but has not completely ruled out trying to extend a career that included two Scottish international caps in 2003. He said: “I was still probably one of the fittest players at Bradford. That’s the most frustrating thing.
“Part of me doesn’t want to retire without giving it a go and getting the buzz back.
“I’m definitely fit enough to carry on. But on the other hand, I don’t want to be wasting my time somewhere.
“I’ve got a decision to make over the next month or two.”
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