IT OFFERED a flicker of hope for 20 minutes or so.

Lewis O’Brien’s quick-thinking to rob Bristol Rovers defender Jamie Clarke and whip the ball in the net allowed us all to briefly dream.

It was a typical snapshot of the youngster’s positive intentions that he has maintained throughout this eye-opening first season of senior football.

What followed, of course, was typical of much of what has gone wrong around him as City caved to a last-gasp sixth successive defeat.

But O’Brien, whose opening goal on Saturday was the fourth of his loan spell, is one of the few who can emerge from the wreckage of this awful campaign with his head still high.

In fact, the midfielder’s reputation has increased by the way he has refused to be dragged down with the general misery surrounding City’s demise.

A much more confident and certainly far more battle-hardened player will return to Huddersfield for their pre-season building up to life back in the Championship.

They say you learn more in adversity, in which case O’Brien has been to footballing university in his eight months as a Bantam.

When Gary Bowyer gave him a breather on the bench at Oxford a few weeks ago, it ended a run of 30 consecutive league starts since making his debut in September.

Only four outfield players have featured more than O’Brien – and none of those can really look back on their season with anything like the same amount of personal pride and satisfaction.

“I didn’t expect to play this many games at all for Bradford considering it is my first loan,” he admitted. “I came in just to be part of a first-team squad.

“I knew it would be a learning curve for me and it’s been the best possible one because I’ve played so many games.

“But I’ve tried to take everything in my stride, so it’s been really good for me.”

O’Brien’s intensive Valley Parade education has included working under three different bosses.

Having signed for Michael Collins at the end of August, the youngster immediately had to adapt to David Hopkin’s arrival within a few days.

The Scot gave him his debut against Charlton and played him throughout his tenure in the City hot-seat.

But Hopkin’s decision to walk away at the end of February meant another fresh start and new voice for O’Brien as Bowyer picked up the pieces.

O’Brien added: “Football is a massive learning curve. Managers come and go but you’ve just got to keep your head down and keep doing the things that you think are right.

“You’ve got to adapt to each manager because they are all different. None are the same and they all have their own ideas.

“You’ve got to listen to what they want and play the way they think. It keeps you on your toes because when there is a change, it’s a clean slate for everyone.

“I would have learned the same this season no matter what the situation because it was my first loan. I was just coming to enjoy myself and learn as much as I could and that’s what I’ve been doing.

“It’s miles different from the (under) 23s. It’s great to be in a first-team environment.”

Huddersfield under-23s manager Mark Hudson has been keeping regular tabs on O’Brien’s progress. The reports going back across the M62 should make impressive reading for his parent club.

They intend to have a good look at him over the summer to size up whether the 20-year-old would be ready to step up another level next season.

But for now, O’Brien is only thinking about finishing his City spell with the same intensity he has shown from the off.

“I haven’t really spoken to Huddersfield much recently. I’ve just been very focused on Bradford and the way everything is going here.

“It’s definitely encouraging to hear I might be in their plans but I’m just concentrating on getting to the end of the season, putting in good performances and doing as well as I can.

“It’s been a great season for me personally and I’ve loved every minute of it.”