Ask Bradford City defender John Dreyer to name the most memorable character he has met during his playing career and he will flash back the answer - Robert Maxwell.

Dreyer started his professional career at the Manor Ground and his four-seasons with Oxford were the most successful in the U's history.

However it was chairman Maxwell who made the biggest impression on a young Dreyer.

He said: "I was at Oxford when they were in the old Second Division but didn't make my debut until we were in the top flight.

"It was the time when Robert Maxwell was in charge and it was a good platform for him with regards their other ambitions. He was a strange man though.

"He came in the dressing room during my debut against Coventry. I was marking Cyrille Regis and the strange thing was he came in at half-time and said 'Who is making their debut today?' I put my hand up and said 'Me, Mr Maxwell'.

"No-one usually comes in during a half-time team-talk but he wandered over and said 'All the very best' and just walked out. The lads and management just fell about laughing."

Dreyer, now 35, is hoping to be part of the Bantams side which faces his former club tomorrow with the Premiership in their sights.

In contrast Oxford are fighting the drop and their manager is one of his former colleagues, Malcolm Shotton

"He was captain when I started and I always remember Mr Maxwell handing over the Second Division championship and saying 'Congratulations to Robert Shotton'. He didn't even know the name of the captain so he was obviously a keen football fan.

"Despite all that, it was a very exciting time to be involved there, particularly with me having just come out of non-league football."

Oxford have fallen from the lofty heights they hit while Dreyer was at the Manor Ground when they enjoyed three seasons of top flight football and also won the Milk Cup.

In contrast, the current season has been a constant battle for survival with horrendous debts forcing the club into Administration.

Dreyer said: "They have had their problems and it would be upsetting if they did go under. It may well be a case of them being relegated tomorrow but that is football. It is not something you give too much thought to but it is a dog eat dog world. We have a lot at stake and cannot afford any slip-ups."

Dreyer returned to the City side last weekend at QPR in place of Darren Moore and is hoping to retain his place in the final two games of the season.

His contract is again due to expire this summer but the defender has stressed that he wants to finish the campaign on a high. "I am getting towards the end of my career so to go up to the Premiership would be amazing.

"I am under no illusions about the future but still believe I have two or three years left in me. Fitness is not a problem for me. But that is for the future. It would be very special to be part of the side which goes up because that team will have a place in the club's history."

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