IT WAS not the most auspicious start when the Valley Parade announcer got his name wrong.

But Adam Thompson paid his first contribution into an investment that he hopes will take him further than he has managed before.

Thompson finally got a brief outing in City colours when he was brought off the bench to add further defensive security in the closing moments of Saturday’s hard-earned win over Rotherham.

With Matt Kilgallon and Nathaniel Knight-Percival in stand-out form, the Northern Ireland international has had to bide his time since making the season-long switch from Bury just ahead of last month’s transfer deadline.

Thompson, though, has no doubts he has made the right move by joining a club with established play-off pedigree.

Last season’s final League One table still makes painful viewing for the 24-year-old, whose fourth and final year at Southend ended with the deep frustration of finishing one point adrift of the top six.

Millwall snatched that final play-off spot from them with a breathless 4-3 win at Bristol Rovers on the last day. Nobody needs reminding what followed for the Lions.

For Thompson, it meant a reluctant viewing role as the drama unfolded.

“It was heart-breaking to miss out,” he recalled. “We just had to win and hope Millwall didn’t – and they scored with five minutes to go.

“We were in the play-offs right up to that point, which made it even harder.

“So you were left looking at the teams in there like Bradford and thinking ‘I wish that was me’.

“I did find it hard to watch but I couldn’t turn it off. I felt I had to see what was going on and I do love football.

“But obviously it’s not a great feeling when you’re seeing the other players out there and knowing that it could have been you.

“That is why this is such a big move for me because I want to be there at the end of the season. Hopefully not even there but in the top two with a big team – and Bradford are definitely one of them.”

City showed their staying power last season to remain in the play-off places from the third game onwards. They never dipped below the top five from that point.

Thompson said: “That’s credit to Bradford but their teams have always had that mental toughness. When they are in there, they don’t come out.

“Southend used to get in the top six one game and then drop out the next.

“Once you’re in there, you think you can relax a bit – and then drop down again.

“From what I’ve seen in the last few seasons playing against Bradford, they’ve always had that steel. Southend never really had that.

“There are experienced players here like the skipper (Romain Vincelot). You can see he’s the driving force who keeps everyone focused.”

Vincelot’s third goal in a week has cemented the Bantams among the division’s front-runners once again.

Two wins and a draw from back-to-back away trips to Peterborough and Oxford before the Valley Parade victory over Rotherham have been seen as a real statement of intent.

Thompson said: “It was a good test early on in the season to see where we are and prove that we are top-six material.

“I think those three games against teams who also look strong put down a marker to show where we are at.

“You look around at the quality of player for League One and I feel this club will definitely be up there again this year. Hopefully we can go one better this time.

“There’s a lot of League One experience, including myself, and we’ll have that drive to make the extra step.

“But there are no easy points in the league. That’s what is good about it –but it means you’ve got to have full concentration every single game.

“The lads here are fully focused and everyone is working hard. Nobody is messing about in training, we’re all taking it seriously but that comes from the gaffer.”

Having signed from Bury while away on international duty, Thompson got his first good look at City alongside his Northern Ireland team-mates.

With the Bristol Rovers game live on TV, he had the chance to study his new surroundings from a hotel in Belfast.

He said: “Shay (McCartan) was telling me who everyone was. But it gave me an insight into the team structure and how they play.

“The tempo was unbelievable. There were some Premier League players sitting there among us and they were really impressed.”