DAVID Ball will miss out on the chance to say goodbye to the Valley Parade faithful on Saturday.

But he is still likely to have some influence as City look to sign off this depressing campaign with victory over Wimbledon.

Lewis O’Brien has taken all the plaudits as the one bright light amid the gloom with his energetic and enthusiastic performances.

READ MORE: Top marks for O'Brien

But Ball should also be credited for the youngster’s progress in his capacity as mentor for the Huddersfield midfielder.

City boss Gary Bowyer said: “You look at the impact Bally has had in the time that he’s been here, not just since we’ve come in, on the younger ones.

“He picks up Lewis O’Brien and has worked ever so hard to keep him bright. He’s been a massive part of Lewis’ development this season.

“Lewis is fortunate to have had such a good pro behind him like that.

“Bally has played out of position for the majority of the season and he just gets on with it. He doesn’t question it.

“He’s one of those players who puts the team first. You can’t have enough of them, that’s for sure.”

A knee ligament injury has ruled out Ball since the Doncaster game and he is not expected to recover in time for City’s final fling in League One.

“We hoped it would calm down but it’s failed to settle down,” admitted Bowyer.

“He’s back running this week and shouldn’t be too long – unfortunately for us, that too long is after the season has finished.”

Every City fan would love to have him back next season but it is hard to see Ball dropping to League Two. The Rotherham man is likely to be in demand with other clubs in the third tier.

Bowyer, like so many managers at this level, has had Ball on his radar for a long time now. He is not surprised that the striker is so universally popular among his peers.

He added: “David Ball has been a top professional in his career and will continue to be that.

“He’s got so much quality not just as a player but as a person as well and that’s massive.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him. We tried to sign him a couple of times when I was at Blackpool because of the recommendations and what people said about him.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve realised that those references were spot on. It’s 100 per cent true about the lad because he’s given everything this season for Bradford when he’s put the shirt on.

“For a loan player especially, that’s really special.”

As Bowyer prepares to launch his summer plans to overhaul the relegated City squad, he has stressed the importance of bringing in the right characters.

Due diligence on what makes players tick and how they behave in and around the squad will be high on the agenda when it comes to recruitment.

If Ball himself may prove elusive, Bowyer would love to have a few more just like him when the Bantams rebuild for life back in League Two.

“It’s not just how he is on the pitch but off it as well,” said Bowyer. “You can’t have enough of those type of people in your dressing room.”