James Meredith can boost Bradford City's "five star" defence says Lawn (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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James Meredith can boost Bradford City's "five star" defence says Lawn
Updated 10:41am Wednesday 9th July 2014 in Sport
MARK Lawn reckons City can boast the best defence in League One after securing James Meredith for another year.
The Australian ended a summer of uncertainty over his own position by signing for next season.
It pits him straight into a head-to-head battle with former Notts County skipper Alan Sheehan for the starting left-back slot.
And according to joint-chairman Lawn, Meredith's decision to stay gives Phil Parkinson an embarrassment of riches at the back.
Lawn said: "I've always thought we had the best back four in the league. Well, now I think we've got the best five with James there.
"I think he's got a bit to prove. That's why we've tailored it as we have.
"We looked elsewhere when he said he wanted to look around. But he wants to come back to Bradford City – and that's not an option that was forced on him.
"James still wants to get into the Australian national side and I think he believes the profile of Bradford City will be high enough to hopefully push him forward.
"If we can get the best out of him, he'll get a first cap for Australia."
Meredith played every game for the first half of last season before breaking his foot in training at the start of January.
That ruled him out for almost four months, although he recovered in time to come off the bench twice at Swindon and Tranmere.
The 26-year-old full back, who had turned down City's original offer, faces a real fight for the first-choice role following the recent arrival of Sheehan – who played 44 games, and scored seven goals, in Notts County's successful attempt to beat the drop.
Lawn said: "James has got to do what's best for him. He looked around for something else and we obviously started doing the same.
"We brought in Alan Sheehan, who I think is an exceptional left back. He's a very versatile player as well because he played well at centre half for Notts County last season and even in midfield.
"He got the same plaudits there as Stephen Darby did for us and won all the awards from the player of the year. So he was a good capture for us.
"Now it's looking really good to have James back as well and pushing for that position.
"All the fans know what sort of exciting players they are. James likes to attack and Sheehan certainly does.
"Both of them have that ability to overlap. If we can get someone on that left side who's a bit fast as well, that will be a very good attacking option for us."
Meanwhile, discussions are still ongoing over goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.
* The Bantams will visit Farsley on Tuesday, July 22 (7.30pm) in a friendly. It is pay on the gate, with adults £7 and concessions (over-65s, under-16s and students) £4.