HOT prospect Mason Bennett will be eased into City’s plans as he kicks off a half-season loan.
The highly-rated Derby teenager trained with the Bantams for the first time yesterday and Phil Parkinson is excited to have the England under-19 striker on board after a patient chase.
But the City boss will not demand too much too soon from a player who is capable of injecting more speed into the attack, either on the wing or as a central striker.
Parkinson said: “Mason’s got power and pace and we need that in the team. Pace frightens defenders and he’s certainly got running power.
“I think he will be an excellent signing but we’re not expecting him to come in and do everything straight away.
“He is a young player and we’re not going to build him up too much. We know that he needs some work in terms of match fitness.
“But the beauty is that he’s here until January so we’ve got plenty of time to get him right and really up to speed. He will be a big asset for us.”
Derby head coach Steve McClaren revealed that half a dozen clubs were in the race to take Bennett after a proposed switch to Sheffield United collapsed at the 11th hour.
McClaren felt the 18-year-old got “messed around” when the Blades loan did not go through and is happy for his development to continue under Parkinson.
Parkinson said: “We’ve waited for a while to get him. We’ve been speaking to Derby for the last month but then it went quiet because of Sheffield United’s interest.
“Derby have been brilliant with us. Steve McClaren and (head of football operations) Chris Evans have kept us informed all the way and we got a call last Thursday night to say the deal was back on.”
That good relationship between the two clubs could open the door to extend Bennett’s stay for the whole campaign if things work out in the next five months.
Parkinson added:”Both parties will have a look at it later on. Derby have got a big squad and they’re a team who will be right up there again.
“Steve was going to keep Mason around because he was on the bench a lot last season and did well when he came on as a sub.
“But they just feel he has to go that step further for his development.”