Bradford City: Gray's fresh legs will allow Hanson welcome breather, says Parkinson (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City: Andy Gray's fresh legs will allow James Hanson welcome breather, says Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson reckons Andy Gray’s lack of action with Leeds will spell good news for City’s promotion push.
Gray yesterday rejoined the club he left in 2004 and signed a deal tying him to Valley Parade for the next 18 months with an option at the end of it.
The 35-year-old, who previously played under Parkinson at Charlton, chose Leeds over the Bantams last summer following his release from Barnsley.
But he hardly got a sniff at Elland Road, starting just one Capital One Cup tie.
Gray came off the bench eight times in the Championship, scoring once against Hull, and his biggest run-out was for only 18 minutes.
Parkinson reckons that guarantees City a very hungry addition.
He said: “It’s a bonus for us. Andy comes into a squad where we need some fresh legs and he is champing at the bit to get going.
“He has sat on the bench the majority of the season and never really got a chance.
“But it’s very difficult to turn down when a Championship club come in with all their resources. We were talking to Andy among several other players at the time and we’ve always monitored the situation.
“I know what he can do from working with him before. He is a hard-working player both on matchdays and in training and will be a good influence on the younger ones in the squad.”
Gray’s arrival will also take some of the heat off James Hanson and he gives City another option down the middle.
Parkinson added: “It’s a big responsibility on Hans’s shoulders to lead the line week in, week out. Andy can do a similar job to James in terms of being the targetman but he’s a different type of one.
“Andy’s also a consummate professional and that’s one of the key aspects we’re bringing into the club.
“We’re building that ethos of professionalism and want people coming on board who will be singing from the same hymn sheet.”
Gray is cup-tied for the second crack at Aston Villa but he can play in the JPT northern area semi-final at Crewe next week.
Meanwhile, City’s youngsters will finally play their FA Youth Cup third-round tie with Histon at Valley Parade tonight (7.00 kick-off), with the winners earning a home draw against Liverpool.
The game comes too soon for Kyle Harrison and Louie Swain, who have just returned to training from injury. But Steve Thornber has a strong squad to pick from.
He said: “There are going to be a few very unhappy second years but that’s the way it is.
“We’re just glad to be playing at last because we haven’t been able to agree a date.
“Some of the Histon side are also playing in their first team and we’ve bent over backwards to help them. I’m not sure the same thing would be done for us.
“You never know which way it’s going to go but with everything going on at the club we want to ride along with it. There’s no bigger incentive than the thought of playing Liverpool if we win.”