McCall nets a brace

City boss Stuart McCall welcomes strikers Barry Conlon, left, and Peter Thorne to their new home

City boss Stuart McCall welcomes strikers Barry Conlon, left, and Peter Thorne to their new home

City boss Stuart McCall welcomes strikers Barry Conlon, left, and Peter Thorne to their new home

City boss Stuart McCall welcomes strikers Barry Conlon, left, and Peter Thorne to their new home

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford City Reporter

Stuart McCall snapped up a brand new strike duo and then promised City fans: This is only the beginning.

Experienced frontmen Peter Thorne and Barry Conlon today signed one-year deals and became the first arrivals of the McCall era.

"People have been waiting to see if we'll do anything and this will give everyone a lift," said the City boss. "Apart from Deano (Dean Windass), the club has struggled to score goals and hopefully I've got the right two to do that.

"They are both very hungry to do well and that's the type of players I want to see at this club. They are here for the right reasons.

"Barry has scored goals at this level and the one above and he's got the physical presence that we haven't had.

"I'm going to have to sign people blind and I haven't seen him play but I've looked in-depth at his record and spoken to people who've played against him as well as his old Darlington manager David Hodgson.

They are both very hungry to do well and thats the type of players I want to see at this club. They are here for the right reasons

Stuart McCall

"He needs a good pre-season under his belt and I'm confident he'll then get the goals we want.

"Peter has played and scored at an even higher level in the Championship and has a good pedigree. He just wants to play football and feels this might be the right club."

Barnsley striker Nathan Joynes is on trial with a view to a season loan and McCall may be tempted to increase his attacking options.

"Obviously after working under Mr Warnock for a few years, you know what he's like with strikers! I might look for more combinations."

Thorne, who left Norwich in May, said: "I feel like I've wasted two years there. I had limited opportunities and never felt that I had a fair run.

"But this is a new chapter. I wanted to come back up north and as soon as I spoke to the gaffer I heard all the right things straight away."

Conlon is also relishing the challenge thrown down by McCall to take City straight back up.

He said: "It's only six years ago they were in the Premiership and we were talking in the car about the type of players they were bringing for medicals. Now they are taking the likes of me!

"You look round the stadium and it's disappointing to be in this league but hopefully we can get out of it as quickly as possible."

Thorne, who turned 34 a fortnight ago, was released by Norwich after two years to forget at Carrow Road.

He scored only twice in 42 appearances for the Canaries, playing mostly as a substitute, and suffered rotten luck with injuries.

In his last game at Preston in February, he came off the bench but then had to be replaced at half-time with a thigh strain. Previously, he had forged a reputation as a regular goal-getter with Cardiff, Stoke and Swindon. He reached the play-offs in four successive seasons, winning promotion twice, and bagged 30 goals for Stoke in their successful 2000 campaigns.

Thorne, who has scored 165 times in his career,was believed to be one of the highest earners with Norwich and will have taken a huge pay-cut to spearhead the McCall regime.

For a team bracing themselves for life in the basement division, Thorne's capture is a real coup. Norwich boss Peter Grant reckoned he could still be a "major asset" at Championship level.

Thorne's new much-travelled strike partner Conlon has made City his 11th different club. The 28-year-old Dubliner hit 12 last season in League Two - six each with Darlington and Mansfield.

He made an instant impact with both sides, notching a hat-trick on the opening day for Darlington and then scoring in his first three matches after joining the Stags in January.

But City have missed out on Scunthorpe left back Lee Ridley, who has decided to stay in League One by joining Cheltenham.

Ridley said: "Bradford were in the equation too, but playing in League One is a big thing and I am concentrating on Cheltenham at the moment."

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