Star pupil Simon Ainge has hailed City's "headmaster" David Wetherall.

Ainge has emerged as the real bright spark in the current wretched run which has sent Colin Todd's team tumbling down League One.

The 18-year-old from Shipley has looked the part after slotting in alongside Wetherall in the heart of City's back four.

And Ainge admits he can learn so much from his vastly-experienced partner.

"Along with John Terry and Michael Dawson, the skipper's a player I've always looked up to," he said.

"I'd watch Leeds games when he was in the team there and he'd win everything in the air.

"He never loses a header but you don't really realise that because he does it every week. That gives me so much confidence when I'm playing next to him.

"In the reserves, I might not feel so confident in the player next to me. Half the time you're wondering whether to come round and cover in case they don't win the header.

"But with the skipper that's not the case. He always gets there and that really helps put me at ease."

Ainge's chance came against Brighton three weeks ago after Richard Edghill damaged his hip. Having started the two matches since, he has kept his place on merit.

Mark Bower, Wetherall's usual foil in the middle, has been operating at left back and Ainge will not give up his new role easily. He added: "They are both quality players but I think I can do a job in there. I'm quite quick and we haven't got a lot of pace at the back apart from Nathan Doyle.

"It's gone quite well for me so far and I've enjoyed it. But the one thing I can improve on is my heading.

"Normally in the reserves it's one of my strong points but maybe I've been a little bit nervous and worried in case I've not got to the ball. Hopefully I'll get over that as I settle in and I thought I attacked the ball better in the second half at Oldham."

Ainge and Wetherall had their work cut out at Boundary Park as City came within 11 minutes of an unlikely point. But the late loss has cranked up the pressure for tomorrow.

"We're going through a bad patch but that's the same with any team," Ainge said. "I don't know much about Bournemouth but I think we can get it together.

"We've been working hard in training, particularly on defending as a team, and we'll turn it round. I know we've got a small squad but I still think it's probably one of the best in this league."

And for Ainge, every game is living the dream.

"It still feels weird. I used to go and watch Bradford with my mates and go on the pitch at the end of the season. Now they are still coming to games and I'm out there playing"