DANNY Devine has the chance to stake his claim in David Hopkin’s City plans.

The local lad could make his first start for 11 months tonight as the Bantams head for Barnsley for their final Checkatrade Trophy group game.

The 21-year-old’s late appearance at Aldershot after coming back from injury was his first outing since coming off the bench against Gillingham in March.

But Hopkin believes the young midfielder could have plenty to offer in City’s fight against the drop.

The City boss said: “Danny’s been out since I came in. I hadn’t even seen train until last week.

“But we did a fitness test with him and he was fantastic. He’s a naturally fit boy.

“He’s somebody who’s come through the academy, which always pleases me. I like to see our own players play.

“He’s in the reckoning now and that’s why I put him in on Saturday.

“Danny’s definitely one that will come into my thoughts the longer the season goes.”

Former St Bede’s pupil Devine featured in all four Checkatrade Trophy games last term but has not started in the league since the final game of the 2017 campaign at Rochdale.

Hopkin, though, is willing to bring him back into the fold.

He added: “Danny’s a quiet lad but sometimes you get to 20 and 21 and start to come out of your shell a wee bit.

“He’s got a physicality about him and is good on the ball. He showed good composure, desire and great energy on Saturday.

“Hopefully Danny will start pushing on. He’s another strong runner who has got a bit about them and that’s what we need at this moment of time.

“Boys have to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Lads in the under-18s can see Danny, Lewis O’Brien and Connor Wood playing and that bodes well.

“I keep saying that there aren’t many teams in League One who are playing with so many kids.

“It’s fantastic for them and we need to make sure we start picking up results. These young boys will learn more now over the next coming months than they will ever do in their careers.”

Hopkin will name a stronger side than in the previous Checkatrade loss to Oldham last month.

Jim O’Brien and Adam Chicksen are also set to start but City are without youngsters Reece Staunton, who is on international duty with Ireland under-18s in Spain, and the suspended Eliot Goldthorp.

City have to beat Barnsley by two to qualify for the next round but Hopkin is looking to build momentum after Saturday’s FA Cup fightback.

He said: “We should have gone on to win with the chances we had. But the players have got to take heart from sticking at it in horrendous conditions.

“The next step is going on to try and pick up a win and keep it going.

“It’s about strength of character now. Saturday was and we’re playing against a very good Barnsley side.

“They are one that’s going to be top six all season and then we’ve got another very difficult game at Peterborough on Saturday.

“These are massive games for us but games when we seem to up the levels.

“That’s important. We need to get a run of games now when the mentality keeps the same.

“It’s an important game for everybody because we’ve got to try and build some momentum.”