SOMETIMES you can read too much into first impressions.

But if the opening week of Harry Pritchard’s City career is anything to go by, it looks like Gary Bowyer may have picked up a gem.

Pritchard is wasting no time in repaying the faith of the Bantams boss who gave him his initial chance in the pro game when taking him to Blackpool from Maidenhead United.

After showing glimpses from the bench against Crewe, albeit with one big scoring opportunity missed, the 26-year-old provided the best individual display in an underwhelming team effort at Bolton in midweek.

Bowyer was not surprised to see Pritchard sparkle on his first start in the number seven shirt vacated by Sean Scannell – and reckons that is just the beginning.

“I thought he was outstanding,” said the City boss. “He grew into the game and got stronger.

“He’s going to get better and better for us and I’m sure the fans will love watching him play.

“He’s a worker and he knows the game. He’s got a football brain and he’s a great addition already.”

Pritchard could have had a couple of goals at the University of Bolton Stadium, hitting the post and having another chalked off after the ball popped up and struck his arm as he shaped to shoot.

It was disallowed under the new hand-ball rule – a tinker with the laws which has infuriated his manager.

Bowyer added: “I think it was crazy that his goal got disallowed because it hit his hand.

“What is he supposed to do? But we’re going to see it all season.

“If the ball pings back up and hits the defender on the hand, it’s not a penalty. So you’ve got a rule that favours the defenders and not the attackers

“Yet, he doesn’t know anything about it.

“But that’s what he’ll do, he’ll provide chances and you also saw his delivery from set-plays.

“He’s honest, he’s reliable, he’s trustworthy and he can play as well. He’s only going to get better.”

Pritchard was taken off just after an hour to save him for his anticipated full league debut at Valley Parade this weekend. With Jamie Devitt ruled out with a hamstring injury, his contribution will be crucial for the Northampton clash.

Zeli Ismail will also come into the reckoning for his first League Two involvement after his cameo from the bench in the Trophy.

It has been a frustrating period for the winger since his summer arrival. The former Walsall man has been restricted to just one pre-season outing before being laid low by hamstring problems.

Ismail demonstrated some of his tricks of the trade against the Bolton youngsters but Bowyer still remains cautious about throwing him into the heat of battle.

“You’ve got to be careful with him.

“He went on at Bradford (Park Avenue) and played the same sort of minutes. Then he was feeling it a little bit two days later.

“We’re going to really look after him. But again, he showed you what he is capable of.

“He puts teams on the back foot and gets you up the pitch. With the additions we’ve managed to make, we know we’ve got some pace and power.

“That will give him a huge amount of confidence just getting some minutes under his belt. We’re very pleased with how he’s gone.”

Ismail also stepped up to slot away the first of City’s penalties in the shoot-out – despite Bowyer vowing he would not take another one after missing two from the spot in the Avenue friendly.

Bowyer laughed: “It was my choice. I told him he was doing it.

“I’m delighted that he managed to score this time.

“Overall, it was a good 90 minutes for us to learn loads about ourselves.”