IT’S more than three years since a fresh-faced local teenager took his place in City’s midfield against Port Vale.

Danny Devine’s debut was lost a bit in the opening-day hype surrounding Stuart McCall’s return to the Valley Parade hot-seat.

But as Vale make their first return since August 2016, the 22-year-old is the only survivor from either side.

And the unassuming midfielder will be armed with a first senior goal under his belt after 47 games of trying.

Breaking his duck in Saturday’s win over Crawley is a timely confidence boost as he prepares for tonight’s blast from the past.

“It feels ages away that,” said Devine, referring to the goalless draw when City last hosted Vale. “I think I’ve been here forever.

“Scoring a goal has certainly been a long time coming and that’s why it means a lot.

“Coming from Bradford, it’s what you dream of to get that first goal and especially because it was in front of the Kop.

“I’ve had a few opportunities before, so it was massive that I finally got there and I was buzzing about it.

“It’s good that we are sharing the goals across the team and everybody’s chipping in.

“Hopefully I’ll get a few more and go up the leader board (at the training ground) a bit!”

Devine’s progress since being thrown in by McCall at 18 has been stunted, initially by Josh Cullen’s return, and then injury.

But he senses in Gary Bowyer a manager prepared to give everyone a fair crack.

The depth of the squad is already being tested by the rising number of casualties. But Devine became the eighth different name on the City score sheet in the last five games as the dressing room responds to the challenge.

He added: “There are a few injuries now so everyone’s going to get a chance in the coming games. We’re all pushing each other on with the intensity in training.

“We know what we’ve got to do to get in the team and the manager is very good.

“He knows he’s going to need everyone over the course of the season. He helps you with what he believes you can work on to give you a better chance of getting in the starting 11.

“I know I’ve just got to keep showing him what I can do and the opportunity will be there.”

City’s rise to second spot has lifted excitement levels but Devine echoes Bowyer’s mantra of playing down talk of the league table.

“Our goal this season is obviously to get promoted but we can’t get carried away,” he said.

“It’s only October and nothing’s won yet. We’ve just got to keep going.

“Things are going well but we know we don’t just have the right to walk on the pitch and get the three points.

“We have to keep performing like we have been.”