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Nathan Doyle sings Bradford City fans' praises
Nathan Doyle cannot wait to sample City’s “12th man” as he returns to Valley Parade tonight after a five-year exile.
The home campaign kicks off against promotion second favourites Fleetwood, with Phil Parkinson’s men looking to bounce straight back from the 3-1 opening loss at Gillingham.
Utility player Doyle is pushing for a start in City’s centre midfield even though his only appearance so far was as an extra-time substitute against Notts County ten days ago.
But it promises to be a special occasion for a player whose last appearance on the City turf was against Yeovil in January 2007.
In his first interview since coming back, Doyle admitted he is excited by the thought of the Valley Parade buzz.
He said: “I don’t think the fans realise the massive part they play for the team and the football club.
It was mad when I was here before. The team had started well and we were in the play-offs with the likes of Dean Windass, Jermaine Johnson, Lee Holmes and David WetherallNathan Doyle
“The more fans we get down to Valley Parade, it’s like a 12th man for us.
“Sometimes it can crush teams if we’re on top or help us kick on and get back in games if we’re behind.
“The Bradford supporters were always good with me and they’ve been great since I signed. I’ve read stuff on the internet and the like and they’ve been very positive.
“They know my main focus is to bring a different dimension to the squad and hopefully help them progress. Everyone knows the club shouldn’t be in this league but we are and it’s up to us now to get out of it.”
Apart from a two-month stint at Preston last season, Doyle has played over 100 games in the Championship since his City loan spell under Colin Todd. But the names in the current squad convinced him that it was worth dropping down two divisions after leaving Barnsley.
He added: “It wasn’t that hard a decision when you see the quality of the players and staff here as well as the experience of the manager.
“You look at the likes of Matt Duke, who has played in the Premier League with Derby. You don’t get appearances in that division for no reason.
“There are some good players and that gives you an insight of the ambition of the staff here. I’d rather be at Bradford where they’ve got ambition and want to do well, rather than at a Championship club that is happy just to avoid relegation.”
Doyle was named T&A player of the year for his half-season stay in a campaign which ended in relegation to the bottom flight – where City have remained since. Now he wants to play his part in reversing the demise.
“It was mad when I was here before. The team had started well and we were in the play-offs with the likes of Dean Windass, Jermaine Johnson, Lee Holmes and David Wetherall .
“We had a tidy squad but then things started to go wrong. People left and it ended up a bit mix and match but I really enjoyed my time.
“It feels a bit strange coming back because obviously things change. I was only 19 or 20 when I left and I’m a lot more experienced now.
“I’m getting there fitness-wise. I ticked over through the summer training myself but it’s not the same as doing it every day with the squad.
“Nick (Allamby) has been putting me through my paces and he’s done wonders.”