GARY Bowyer says he has been given food for thought by the performances of his fringe players ahead of his side’s trip to Scunthorpe United this weekend.

The Bantams boss played a strong line-up with a mix of youth and experience in his side’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City under-21s in the Trophy on Tuesday night.

The likes of Hope Akpan, Shay McCartan and Aramide Oteh gave their manager a potential selection headache with impressive displays as the competition for places in City’s League Two starting line-up hots up.

Bowyer was buoyed by this and says he is happy he has different players available to him for forthcoming matches.

He also had praise for the young players who made an appearance, including a debut for goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy. Four more from the club’s under-18s were given places on the bench, as youngsters Jorge Sikora, Connor Morris and Reece Staunton also made an appearance during the second half.

The Bantams boss says there are positive signs for the next generation of players at the club, outlining the importance of their academy and producing their own stars of tomorrow. He said: “They all came through the game and we got minutes in them. They needed that and they got that opportunity.

“People have put their case forward. I said to them this was not a behind-closed-doors game. It really counts.

“I have to say I was delighted with the young boys who came in. It was brilliant for them to experience that. I was buzzing for them.

“It is testament to our academy. It’s vital to our football club to produce our own. There always needs to be a relationship between the academy and the first team.

“George (Sykes-Kenworthy) did well on loan at Guiseley and Reece (Staunton) has come back from Ossett United and both have played men’s football.”

Despite being disappointed with the midweek defeat, Bowyer’s eyes now turn back to League Two. The Bantams travel to second-from-bottom Scunthorpe United on Saturday looking to build on the momentum of a 3-1 home victory over Carlisle United last weekend.

One man who will be sitting out this weekend is impressive centre-back Ben Richards-Everton, who serves the first of his three-match ban following his sending off last Saturday. However, he was still eligible to play in the Trophy clash and again shone.

Bowyer is under no illusions of the task which lies ahead against Paul Hurst’s strugglers. But the Iron lost their previous league game, going down 1-0 at Walsall.

He added: “Scunthorpe will be a very, very tough game.”