STUART McCall is not remotely surprised to see Paul Jewell back in football.

The only manager to take City to the Premier League ended his exile last week when he joined Oldham as number two to rookie boss Richie Wellens.

Fittingly, one of the first assignments of his latest role will be a return to Valley Parade tonight for the Checkatrade Trophy second round.

Whatever the size of crowd, Jewell will be assured of a warm reception – and he will certainly get one in the opposing dugout.

McCall, his captain during those glory days with the Bantams, is delighted to see Jewell back at the coal face after a lengthy sabbatical.

And like one of those James Bond villains, he could almost greet him with the words: “I’ve been expecting you.”

McCall knew that ‘Jagger’ would be back – the lure of the game is just too intoxicating.

“When football is in you, as it is with Jags, then it’s very difficult to stay away,” he said.

“As much as he probably doesn’t need to be back in it, that little voice in your head never goes away.

“I know he’s had some rough times but he’s also had some great ones. Fans at Bradford and Wigan will always tell you he’s one of the best managers their clubs have ever had.

“It’s difficult to just walk away from that and stay away.”

Jewell’s wealth of experience in the dugout was the big attraction for Oldham, who wanted a steady hand and old head to help Wellens learn the ropes.

After a managerial career spanning 590 games with five clubs, the 53-year-old has seen it all – even if his last hot-seat job at Ipswich ended over five years ago.

He was appointed as a joint-assistant to Tony Pulis at West Brom in 2015 but quit after just a week.

Since then, when Jewell hasn’t been working on his golf handicap, he has been watching games as a TV pundit.

McCall said: “I don’t play anywhere near as much golf as Jags does, so I don’t see him that much.

“But I bump into him now and again and remember seeing him at the end of last season. You could tell then that he wanted to get back in somewhere.

“I read his comments on the Oldham website the other day when he got the job and he was saying he doesn’t want to come back as a manager. He enjoys being on the training ground and the coaching side of it.

“It’s funny because we’re the same age and I can see where he’s coming from with that.

“When I left this job first time round, I thought to myself I’d like to go back into the game as a coach or academy manager, working with young ones or as an assistant.

“Sometimes if you’ve had a couple of bad experiences, it can take a toll on you.

“But then your mind clears in time and you get the buzz again. Obviously I got back into it with Motherwell.

“Jags has been in football all his life, whether it’s playing, managing or coaching. It’s in your blood.”

Jewell was just 33 when he accepted Geoffrey Richmond’s offer to take the Valley Parade helm. Wellens may be four years older but he is equally green – and that’s where his new assistant intends to offer the know-how he has gleaned from so long in such a pressured environment.

McCall can see the thinking behind the appointment at a club where survival in League One remains the order of the day.

He said: “As a young manager, it’s good to have that bit of experience around you. It looks like a good fit.

“People who haven’t been involved in the game and think they know about football don’t realise there are so many different sides to being a manager. It’s not just about playing on a Saturday.

“Paul will have experienced a lot of things, good and bad. It’s about being around players, being in the dressing room, dealing with the media, the agents, directors, chairmen – whether it’s positive or not, you take it all on board.

“I’m sure Jags will be a really good right-hand man for Richie to lean on. As a new manager, he’ll come across issues he won’t have seen before and Paul will be there to offer his help.

“He’s got that knowledge of the game. I spoke to him in the summer about signing Tayls (Paul Taylor) because obviously he’d bought him for money (at Ipswich) and he was good, telling me this and that.

“It’s clear to everyone how much he enjoys his football and I’m really pleased to see him back.”