MATTY Dolan can see striking similarities between City and the Yeovil team that won promotion to the Championship.
The midfielder spent half a season on loan with tomorrow’s opponents and was on the Wembley pitch for the greatest moment in their history when they beat Brentford to reach the second tier.
The rise of the unfashionable Somerset club was one of the great underdog stories – although they immediately crashed back down to League One at the first time of asking.
Dolan played ten games for the Glovers in their 2013 triumph and scored once, the winning goal against a Notts County side featuring current team-mates Alan Sheehan and Gary Liddle.
He said: “The (City) squad at the minute reminds me of that. We had about 18 players who would do anything for anyone.
“That’s the sort of feeling you get here at the minute. Who knows how far we can go?
“Team spirit was the biggest thing for us at Yeovil and you saw what could be achieved. The lads were all behind each other and supported everyone all the way – that’s what it is like with us now.
“It’s not the biggest squad. But I think it’s healthy because the lads that aren’t playing know that they are in with a sniff.
“Those in the team also know that if they aren’t having a good game, the gaffer can easily call on someone else. That sort of competition has got to better every player.”
Dolan has been a victim of that serious scrap for places. His JPT start at Oldham on Tuesday was only his second so far as he has been reduced to bench duties for League One.
He added: “It’s disappointing when you’re not playing because obviously it’s your job. But you’ve got to keep your head right.
“I was pleased with my pre-season and so was the gaffer. He knows I’m ready when he wants me.
“It’s a long season and we’ve got a lot of games so we’ll see what happens.
“It is part and parcel of football but you can’t complain when the team are playing well and getting good results. It’s great to be part of a winning squad.
“It’s a pleasure to watch and to be part of. Even coming into training and working with the players that the gaffer has brought in is brilliant with all the short, sharp work.
“Billy (Knott) has come in and been fantastic and Jason (Kennedy) is a completely different player. But they all deserve so much credit.
“It’s a good environment to be in. There’s a real vibe about the place and as long as everyone stays positive then we can only push on.”
Yeovil’s visit will be the first game back at Valley Parade since the epic Capital One Cup night against Leeds. Dolan only came on for the five added minutes but it is a game he will always treasure.
“You can still see the buzz around the place. That was the first derby I’ve really had.
“I was in the Middlesbrough squad against Sunderland which was classed as their derby. But to see something as fierce as that was unbelievable.
“It was an amazing atmosphere, even to be on the bench. The lads rose to the challenge and gave the fans what they wanted.”