SHAY McCartan was just five when Kevin Ellison made his debut in senior football for Altrincham.

Twenty years on, Ellison is still going strong with Morecambe as the second oldest outfield player in the league.

He is a month younger than Dannie Bulman at Crawley, who ironically are next up for City after this weekend’s trip to the Globe Arena.

Ellison will turn 41 in February and is still going strong – something that McCartan cannot even contemplate.

“To still be playing at that age is just crazy and he scored the other week,” said the Bantams forward referring to the winger’s last-minute equaliser against Northampton.

“I can’t see it happening that I’ll still be playing at nearly 41. But that’s testament to Kev.

“I’ve played against him a lot and he’s a good professional. People might not always see that but he looks after himself really well.”

Ellison’s reputation as a wind-up merchant often goes before him. His game revels on getting under the skin of the opposition and rival fans.

It is why he remains so popular in his eighth season with the Shrimps and a fearsome League Two foe even in his veteran status.

You wonder how it might have worked out if Peter Jackson had made a permanent move for Ellison in the summer of 2011 after an 11-game loan switch from Rotherham which saw Omar Daley go the other way.

But as a regular adversary of Ellison in his Accrington days as well as during last season’s stint at Lincoln, McCartan knows to steer well clear of any verbal tangles.

He added: “Kev is a mouthpiece on the pitch but that’s just the way he is.

“He’s a good person and a great lad but you just don’t get involved with him.

“I’ll be telling the lads that but I’m sure a few of them will know what he’s about as well. We’ll not be getting sucked into his games.”

Gary Bowyer believes Ellison’s longevity continues to do the fourth tier proud.

“He’s been magnificent and is such a role model, not just for the Morecambe lads but everybody in our league,” said the City boss.

“He’s a tremendous character and has looked after himself to still be playing at that age – and not just playing but being a handful as well.”

City will also be wise not to fall victim to the pre-match hype as hot favourites. Every bookie is backing them to bag three points against a struggling Morecambe side with just one league win.

But McCartan’s League Two know-how suggests it will be nowhere near as simple as that.

“It’s going to be difficult because there’s not much between top and bottom in this league,” he said.

“Morecambe have been favourites to go down probably for the past 10 years and they are still there.

“There is something about them. I know a few of the lads and they’ll be a decent side.

“We won’t be taking them for granted. Every team ups their game against us.

“I remember how it was when I was at Accrington and Portsmouth were in the league.

“It was the same sort of thing and every team was raising their game against them because of the size of the club.

“It’s similar with Bradford now. We’re going to be a scalp and everyone wants to beat us – we understand that.

“But it’s a bit of a compliment really. A lot of players in this league would want to be at Bradford and we all realise how lucky we are now.”

And having popped up with last week’s winner against Swindon, McCartan will be hoping others follow. He has tended to score his goals in gluts through his career.

“I think the gaffer will be aware of that. He’s been good to me and understands what I am about.

“I was probably frustrated with how the season started off for me and I’ve been unfortunate with injuries. But I feel good now.

“I’ve worked hard and done well after coming on. Hopefully I can really push on now and start scoring a few more goals.”