JORDAN Gibson is convinced that Gary Bowyer’s encouragement can finally unlock his talent with City.

The midfielder made his first league start for the club in 11 months in Saturday’s goalless draw with Cambridge to kick off the new campaign.

It was a frustrating curtain-raiser but Gibson’s performance suggested he is ready to push for a regular shot after spending the second half of last season on loan at Stevenage.

And he thanked Bowyer for giving him the belief to showcase his undoubted ability to the Valley Parade faithful.

Gibson said: “I’m 21 now, I’m not a kid. But Gary is a manager who has full confidence in me.

“After a tough couple of years trying to break into the team, it’s come at the perfect time. I’ve been away from the club but I know what I’m capable of.

“There’s a massive difference here now. The gaffer has been exceptional with me and the rest of the players.

“He’s got a lot of belief in the boys and there is a lot of optimism and togetherness around the whole place.

“He has put an arm round me to a certain extent, off the pitch as well, to guide me. I’m feeling good and hopefully I can push on now.

“I’ve been in and out the team and not really had a run of starts. Hopefully after the pre-season we’ve had, I can kick on and progress.”

James Vaughan hit the bar from Gibson's pass as City fired a blank on their return to League Two – despite playing the last half hour with an extra man after Cambridge midfielder Liam O’Neil was red-carded for a lunge on Clayton Donaldson.

Gibson admitted the game was an “eye opener” for some of his team-mates who had not played in the fourth tier before.

“The league is going to be tough,” he added. “There are a lot of teams that play different to how it was in League One.

“Obviously I’ve experienced it myself but it’s the first game and not many of the boys have played League Two. It’s a bit of a wake-up call for them about what teams are going to come here and do.

“We expected Cambridge to come here and be pleased with anything they could get. It was up to us to break them down.

“We’re disappointed not to win but we’ve got to look at the positives. It’s a clean sheet and a point on the board.

“People are going to be rusty and the gaffer is trying to implement his style of football.

“There are new signings and players are gelling together. It’s going to take a little bit of time but we’re confident as the weeks go by that we’ll start picking up three points.”