On Parade: Bats swirled overhead in the evening gloom as Scott Phelan gave his hamstrings one final stretch.

The youngster could have been forgiven for wondering what he had got himself into after agreeing a move to Valley Parade.

This was far removed from the glamour of Goodison Park.

But the 19-year-old, warming down from a typically energetic pre-season outing with Burnley, was clearly enjoying his surroundings.

"The first thing I saw driving up here was this stadium," he said, glancing through the murk at the empty stands.

"It's obviously far too good for League Two - but it's our job now to get us out of there.

"Of course it's not the same as being with Everton. Things are different here like the style of play which took me the first week or so to get used to.

"But that's no disrespect to the other lads because there are some good players here and I can't wait to start playing games with them."

It might be new to the player but Phelan's scenario is a very familiar one to City fans.

Following on from Tom Kearney and Steve Schumacher, the route from the Goodison exit door to West Yorkshire is a well-trodden one for battling central midfielders.

Phelan admitted he had kept a keen eye on Schumacher's progress since leaving Everton - and that played a factor in his decision to link up with the Stuart McCall revolution.

"Being a younger lad you always follow what the ones who unfortunately didn't make it there are getting up to now. And being a midfielder myself I've kept an eye on how Schuey's done.

"He played a lot of games here and has now gone on to Crewe so he's done well which is good to see.

"I've known Michael Symes as well and he's still playing football at a good level at Shrewsbury. It's encouraging to see that they've come to Bradford and then gone on.

"It was disappointing for me that it didn't work out at Everton. I was there since I was eight and a half so that's the only club I've known.

"But the writing has been on the wall for the last six months and things were going a bit stale.

"Half of me was thinking that I might one day get a chance there but the other half was telling me no matter what I did for the reserves then nothing would change.

"So when the opportunity came with Bradford I didn't think twice. I'm more than happy to drop down a few divisions.

"It's no bother to me because I can see this club's got a lot of potential."

The same can be said for Phelan who, like Schumacher, has worn an England shirt at junior levels.

Although he has no league experience so far, the early evidence from the friendlies is of a lad not frightened to put a tackle in and willing to work very hard.

Phelan added: "My dad's always told me to go out and give it 100 per cent. That's what people should expect from you in every game.

"I look to get on the ball as often as I can, get the team passing and hopefully provide chances for others. That's why the strikers are on the most amount of money - we do all the hard work for them and let them finish it off!

"But I also try to get forward when I can and hopefully I can also chip in with a few goals."

Phelan has already passed his first test, convincing the manager he was worth a contract. The one-year deal suits both parties - if the teenager does impress, then expect talks about extending it before too long.

Being on trial can be unnerving, particularly for lads still feeling their way in the professional game. Having skippered Everton's reserves last season, it was still a big step to be thrust into an unfamiliar dressing room knowing that his every move was under scrutiny.

"It's not the norm because you usually know where you stand. You don't know whether to mix in with the other lads properly because you might be leaving the next week.

"But the manager always kept me up-to-date with how I've been doing and just wanted to see me in games. Obviously I must have done well enough and I was very happy to be offered something in the end."

McCall was the first member of the Everton axis in City's engine room, though Phelan was only a year old when his manager was scoring twice for the Toffees in the all-Merseyside FA Cup final in 1989.

He added: "It was a bit before my time when the gaffer was at Everton. But I've seen him for Sheffield United as a player and what I've been told is that he always gave everything - and I want to be the same.

"The manager has been very good so far and has made it clear that it's not just how we perform on the pitch that counts. Off it as well, you have to conduct yourselves right.

"He's told us we should always keep an eye on what we eat because that's part of doing the job properly.

"We're professional footballers and lucky to be paid for something we love doing."