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Luke Oliver relishing improved fortunes at Bradford City
Luke Oliver finally believes that City can become the club he signed up for.
The lanky centre half made his 100th league start for the Bantams in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Cheltenham, which lifted them back into the play-off zone.
For Oliver, this could be a season to relish. He has known his fair share of lean times since arriving at Valley Parade initially on loan in March 2010.
This is how the Londoner imagined it should be when he followed Peter Taylor north. It has been a long time coming for a player who had never seen his team in the top half of the table before now.
Oliver said: “The expectation is to be up there with the size of the club. Now you’re there, you want to enjoy it and keep going.
“Everyone wants to do well but we all know the history of Bradford. We know the pleasure it can be when you’re winning.
“There’s no better feeling than when you’re playing well, getting results and the fans get behind you. This is what you joined Bradford for.
“We’ve got off to such horrendous starts in the last two years and then always been chasing. At the minute we’re in the pack and hopefully we can build on what we’ve done so far.”
Tonight’s trip to Sixfields is the first of the next batch of hectic midweeks – but Oliver reckons the frantic fixture schedule is a price worth paying.
“We’ve not even got to November yet and we’re over a quarter of the way through the league season and in three cups,” he said.
“But at the same time, most people would have been happy with that at the start of the season. Certainly after the last couple of seasons, you would have taken sitting fifth in the table now and still in all the cups.
“I’m happy to keep playing games. When you’ve had a good result, you just want to keep that going by playing again as soon as possible.”
Oliver swept the board at the player of the year awards for last season. But he is typically modest about his own form, preferring to credit the influx of Phil Parkinson signings for the welcome upturn in City’s fortunes.
“I’ve personally been steady away but I think the difference is that we’ve added some exceptional players to the squad,” he said.
“I’ve been mightily impressed with Gary Jones and will be very happy when he gets back from his injury.
“Doyley (Nathan Doyle) is another good player and obviously everyone knows how highly I rate Dava (Andrew Davies) and love playing alongside him.
“The squad looks strong in every department in my opinion. When you compare the names in there with other clubs, it looks like a very good League Two team.
“We know a lot of games at this level are down to who wants it more. But if we match most teams for fight and are prepared to battle, then we’ve got the quality to come through after that.
“I know it’s early but I think we’re in for a good season.”
Nobody would begrudge Oliver that.