CITY are looking to pin down David Ball on a permanent deal in the next couple of weeks.

Ball has been a major figure in the club’s rise to the edge of the relegation zone in their battle to stay up.

He has started the last 21 games and scored six goals in that time, including the dramatic stoppage-time winner against Shrewsbury in midweek.

Jacob Butterfield’s arrival from Derby on deadline day took City up to six loan players – teams can only name five in the 18-man squad for a match day.

That means one of those will have to sit out this afternoon’s clash at Wycombe.

But with Ball out of contract at Rotherham in the summer, David Hopkin is hoping City can now convince him to make his stay permanent.

Hopkin said: “Hopefully we can get that done over the coming weeks and then we can get back to the five loans.

“I think David has been fantastic since he’s come in. We’ve had dialogue about it but have had to hang fire.

“But if we can get him to sign on a permanent deal in the next week to 10 days, that will be fantastic for us.

“I don’t think the league position and where we are is an issue.

“I’ve spoken to David over the last couple of weeks and he’s delighted with the way the club’s going and how professional we’ve become behind the scenes, trying to change the structure at the training ground.”

Hopkin had looked to move on the fringe players in the transfer window who are not featuring in his plans.

Josh Wright and Joe Riley are among those who have been out of the picture – and didn't take the chance to go elsewhere.

Hopkin will not completely close the door on them but admits it will be tough for either to find a way back.

He said: “They will still be Bradford City players. I know the non-league window is still open but the only other one is the League of Ireland.

“They’ll be here until the summer now if they don’t get anything.

“I’m not dismissing anyone but there were one or two options for them to go on loan and maybe they fell through.

“It’s a difficult one because they need to go and play football. But obviously if clubs haven’t come in with deals or they’ve not materialised for different reasons, they will remain here now.”

Wright, who was named captain at the start of the season, has not been involved since November. Defender Riley has made just one league appearance under Hopkin.

“I’ve not ruled anything out but it will be difficult,” added the City chief.

“We’re up to 23 now in the first-team squad once Kelvin Mellor and Sean Scannell are back – and they aren’t too far away.

“So, we’ve maybe 21-22 players. But you never know we may get an injury crisis or something like that.

“But I said to the boys that as long as they are here, they will train as normal.

“Any time we do need them, we might have to use them. But at this moment, the others are in front of them.”