MATTY Palmer could be out of City’s plans for anything up to the new year, Gary Bowyer today warned.

The Bantams boss ruled out the midfielder for at least the next month because of his knee injury.

But the club are currently in the dark about how much more he could be missing after that.

Bowyer said: “It’s going to be quite a while. We’re certainly talking four weeks but how much longer after that depends on the healing process.

“It could range from six weeks to 10 and possibly even beyond. It just depends on the individual.

“The good thing is that he doesn’t need an operation. It’s a case of settling his knee down and rebuilding the strength around it.”

Palmer was injured in the Scunthorpe game 11 days ago after his studs caught in the pitch as he went to turn. He had earlier been clattered by opponent Matty Lund with a lunge that saw the former City loanee sent off.

Palmer was among several regulars absent from last weekend’s impressive display against Swindon, highlighting the strength in depth that Bowyer has looked to assemble.

“That’s the reason you do so much during the summer to try to get that squad,” he added.

“It’s a squad game and always will be. It’s not just down to your starting 11, there will be times when you are going to be tested and stretched.

“I think we had six missing on Saturday, yet you still look at the competition and the talent that we had on the bench.

“We’ve said all along that competition for places is good because it drives on the people who’ve got the shirts.

“Your players that aren’t in the starting 11 have got to prove to us on day-to-day basis in training and practice games that they’re ready and should be starting.

“If they don’t produce that, then it’s simple – they don’t get picked.”

James Vaughan returns to contention at Morecambe on Saturday but Bowyer, who is still without Ben Richards-Everton for one more game, welcomes the selection headache.

“It’s the same for anybody who’s been out,” he said. “It will be when Ben’s suspension is up or when Jordan Gibson’s back or Matty.

“Paudie (O’Connor) limped off on Saturday. If he’s not fit and we play Tyler French and he does well, then the week after we’ve got that headache.

“But those are the problems that you want. You want players coming in and doing well and saying, ‘go on then, I dare you to drop me’.”

O’Connor is on the four-man shortlist for League Two player of the month for September. Bowyer sees the defender’s nomination as a feather in the cap for the team.

“It’s great for the club that we have the recognition for how we’ve done in September.

“He’s got to take a shot of confidence from that.”