GARY Bowyer has applauded Josh Wright for taking advantage of his “clean slate” at City.

Last summer’s club captain has been brought back from the Valley Parade wilderness.

Wright’s start against Bristol Rovers was his first for five months after being left out in the cold by previous boss David Hopkin.

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The midfielder had hardly been involved in a match-day squad following his last appearance for the Scot in the Checkatrade Trophy at Barnsley in mid-November.

Hopkin made it clear Wright was no longer in his plans and encouraged him to look for another club during the January transfer window.

But having brought him off the bench against Blackpool recently, Bowyer gave Wright the full game in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat.

It is a major upturn in fortunes for a player who has found himself a target for the boo boys.

Bowyer said: “That all happened before I came here so I can’t comment on that. But when I arrived, I said it was a clean slate for everyone.

“He’s just got on with his job and I thought he did all right on Saturday in the middle of the park.

“That was his first proper 90 minutes for a long, long time – and the same with Sean Scannell. Fair play to him, in that sense.”

Bowyer did not sense Wright’s confidence had been knocked by his absence from the first-team mix and insists he has earned his place back in the current side.

“Josh has played in all the bounce games we’ve organised,” added the City chief. “They have been to give everybody the opportunity.

“Every day they are with me, they have an opportunity. Not just match days but every single day in training.

“It’s up to them to take that opportunity.

“For a player to now turn around and say ‘I didn’t get that chance’ is a load of rubbish.

“It’s the easiest cop out I’ve ever heard because they have an opportunity every day.

“It’s been the same with everybody, not just Josh.

“It’s a simple equation. The players have to perform to play in the team.”

City face Coventry on Friday and could be relegated if they lose again. Bowyer has been impressed with the way Mark Robins has steered the Sky Blues to eighth spot despite the ongoing uncertainty over their future at the Ricoh Arena.

He said: “That’s credit to Mark and his staff for keeping it from the players and just concentrating on what they can control – which is the football.

“Mark has done a tremendous job since he went in there. He got promoted and then the way he’s recruited this season for League One is a model that is similar to myself (with Blackpool).

“He’s got pace and power in wide areas and he’s got some good players. They play the game, in my opinion, the right way.

“We know the challenge that lies ahead and fair play to him for how he’s gone and recruited.”

Bowyer is hopeful that David Ball will be okay after missing out last weekend following a bang on the knee in training.