JOE Riley has been encouraged to revive his stuttering Bradford City career.

The young defender has barely had a look-in at Valley Parade since signing from Manchester United 14 months ago.

Having started five of the first six games last season under Michael Collins, he played just 52 minutes of league action for David Hopkin before being cast aside.

Riley has not featured since City’s 3-1 loss at Accrington in October – and was made available for a move in the transfer window.

With City still looking to move some players on, his future at the club is still questionable.

But he has impressed Gary Bowyer with his response in pre-season, featuring prominently in the friendlies against Guiseley and Liverpool.

And the Bantams boss insists the door is still open for the full back to make his mark.

Bowyer said: “Everybody had a fresh start when I came in. But particularly at the time, Joe found himself probably further back than most because of the fact that he wasn’t involved.

“But he’s come back pre-season and an opportunity has presented itself in terms of the games.

“He’s done well with it and he’s got to continue to build on that. He certainly comes into the competition for the squad.”

Bowyer has stressed that he is not done with business after making 10 summer signings and believes the squad still needs beefing up.

“I’ve counted we’ve got 25, which includes three goalkeepers and obviously Jake Reeves, who is still progressing nicely.

“So with that, we’ve got 21 outfield bodies which is not that many over a course of a season.

“With the four that are currently missing through a bit of pre-season soreness, it does highlight the lack of depth in the squad a little bit.”

Bowyer may look to mix things up with a change in formation for tomorrow’s home clash with Wigan. He has generally stuck with a 4-3-3 line-up in the friendlies so far.

He said: “That’s probably circumstances with one or two personnel and bringing in trialists. You play in a formation that suits them a little bit easier.

“There might be a chance to look at something a bit different in terms of formation.

“You’ve got to be adaptable, not just the one we are in. I certainly think that with the personnel we’ve got we are more than capable of playing more than one formation.

“Throughout the course of the season that’s going to be valuable for us going forward.

“This might give us the chance to have a look at that. It’s another good game following on from the brilliant one on Sunday.”