Bradford City: Jones can't wait to get his season up and running (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City: Ritchie Jones can't wait to get his season up and running
Ritchie Jones has declared himself fit and raring to go for City’s home clash with in-form Cheltenham.
Jones emerged unscathed from his first full game since April in a young reserves side at Mansfield on Tuesday night.
Now the fit-again midfielder has set his sights on a first league outing of the campaign on Saturday.
Jones has not played a league game since losing at Cheltenham in the penultimate game of last season. His comeback from hamstring and ankle injuries in the JP Trophy win over Hartlepool a week ago was his first outing of any sort since.
So to play 90 minutes at Field Mill – even in a 7-0 thrashing – was a step forward for a player who can offer guile to City’s engine room.
“I am feeling physically fine now and I actually felt better during the game than I thought I might,” said Jones.
“I have been working hard in training and I’m just waiting for an opportunity now.
“I know I might have to bide my time but I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing if it means the lads are doing well.
“I just need to look at Ricky (Ravenhill). He’s done well to come back from his injury and now finds himself in the side.
“There are a lot of games coming up and the gaffer may look to rotate the squad like he has done already.”
Parkinson, whose search for a loan player continues, said: “It was tough for Ritchie playing in a team that was mainly young scholars. It was real men against boys.
“But Ritchie always works hard and closes down and it’s good to get another 90 minutes under his belt.
“There are no developments on the loan front at the moment. We’ve got people in mind and have made a couple of inquiries this week.
“We’re aware that we have got another long run of games coming up but anybody we do bring in has to be the right one.”
Rory McArdle returns to training this morning after flying back from Portugal, where he was an unused substitute in Northern Ireland’s 1-1 draw in Porto.
With Andrew Davies and Luke Oliver recovering from problems, Parkinson is relieved that the defender has come back unscathed.
He said: “I spoke to Rory on Tuesday and he was in very good spirits. He’s trained well over there with Northern Ireland.
“We didn’t want to lose him but there’s not much you can do about it. They have had a lot of injuries and I suppose he was genuinely needed in case they picked up another one.
“He’s been a big player for us so far this season and I’m looking forward to getting him back.”
Oliver (jarred hip) and Davies (knee) have both made the most of City’s blank midweek to patch up their injuries. The rest will have done Oliver good, in particular, after he was unable to train for most of last week.