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Bradford City: Luke O'Brien tells of exasperation at Exeter exit
Luke O’Brien is eager to piece his career back together after a “season to forget”.
The former City player of the year made just 16 appearances last term – and ended it without a club.
It will be the first time since turning professional that O’Brien heads into the summer looking for a job.
A January move to Exeter ended in disappointment as the left back played just over three hours of football.
He started only two games and last appeared from the bench against MK Dons in early March.
It completed a miserable campaign for the 23-year-old defender, who had been a regular choice at Valley Parade in previous years.
I would look anywhere as long as it’s the right deal for me and my family. I’d like to stay in the Football League but dropping into the Conference wouldn’t be a problemLuke O'Brien
O’Brien said: “I’ve been used to playing week in, week out but that was a season to forget.
“I was in and out of the Bradford squad so I saw Exeter as a new challenge when they came along.
“I thought that if I could do well for four or five months, I’d earn myself a new contract and my future was sorted. But it didn’t work out like that.”
Exeter took over O’Brien’s Bantams contract, which was due to run out in the summer, but left him unused on the sidelines as they slid towards relegation from League One.
He admitted: “I didn’t get the opportunity, for whatever reason. Nobody really said why.
“It was a fight straight away because they were hovering around the bottom four.
“Maybe they didn’t want to throw in the new lad and decided to stick with the players who’d been there all season. But I never got the chance.
“Training was good working with Paul Tisdale and Steve Perryman, as well as the older players like Rob Edwards and Marcus Stewart. It was good to have that change from what I’d always been used to at Bradford.
“But it was hard leaving my family behind, especially when I wasn’t playing.”
O’Brien severed a 15-year link with Valley Parade on 149 appearances after finding himself a bit part in Phil Parkinson’s team.
But he has no regrets at taking the plunge with a short-term switch to Devon.
“You do wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t gone down there,” he said.
“But I felt I had to get out of Bradford. It’s true you do get in a comfort zone and it was the right time to move.
“We’re a very close-knit family and it wasn’t easy to go down there on my own. But I felt it was important for me.
“The hardest thing is not playing. A new manager comes in and things get changed. But everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I’ve nothing against Phil, he just didn’t see me in his plans.
“We got on well and I’ve been back to the club since and there’s no bad feeling. I still really want them to do well.”
O’Brien remains confident that he will get fixed up. Like Lee Bullock, recently released by City, he would not turn his nose up at non-league.
He said: “I would look anywhere as long as it’s the right deal for me and my family. I’d like to stay in the Football League but dropping into the Conference wouldn’t be a problem.
“I’m only 23 and the main thing is that I’m playing regularly again week in, week out. “There’s thousands of players out there looking. Every club seems to be releasing six or seven. But I’ve got plenty of league experience and I hope my CV does help.
“I’ve not been in this position before, although I obviously know a lot of lads have. Usually I can just chill and go away in the summer feeling pretty safe.
“It’s different this year but I’m not going to worry. I’m looking forward to the future and hopefully getting the right club.
“Wherever I do sign, I want to prove that I’m still a good player.”
Exeter also released former City keeper Lenny Pidgeley.