YOUNG Bradford City midfielder Danny Devine is relieved at how his injury nightmare seems to be behind him, as he finally establishes his place in the first-team picture.

Devine has come up through the academy, but has struggled for regular first team action since his debut against Port Vale in 2016.

Last season was particularly traumatic, with the 22-year old suffering two bad injuries and having to watch City's miserable relegation season mainly from the sidelines.

He wasn't even sure if he had a future at the club, but after Gary Bowyer gave him a new contract in summer, Devine has flourished, and is becoming an increasingly key figure in City's midfield.

He said: "Last year didn't go to plan for me. I was out for a few months injured, came back, then got injured again towards the end of the season.

"It meant I didn't really have any games under my belt over the last few years, so I was obviously a bit worried.

"But the gaffer came in and showed faith in me. I hope that continues and I can keep repaying him."

That regular game time means that it will be Devine's 50th first team appearance if he plays at Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup tomorrow.

He said: "If I'm selected, I'll be over the moon about that. There's not many in recent times that have come through the academy and reached that milestone so it means a lot to me.

"I'm pleased with how my season's gone because I've played a lot more than I have over the last couple of years. I think I've done okay when I've played but I know I can still do better and hopefully if continue to get game time I can show that.

"I think touch wood, it was a freak season for me last year, I've not really had any injuries growing up, whereas last year they all just seemed come at once. Every time I started to get going again, I'd pick up another one.

"Also, prior to last season, it's all been good times when I've been involved, so I'd not been used to having such a bad season, especially being young.

"But obviously if it happens in the future, I know how to deal with it and work with it."

Those character-building experiences mean Devine is well placed to guide the next generation of City players, and he sees his progression from the youth ranks as a badge of honour.

He said: "If there's no one in the first team from the academy, the boys in the youth team might not think it's a good club to be at, as they might think you're not able to progress.

"But if they're seeing boys come through the academy and get a chance in the first team, then I think it'll give them confidence.

"You do see them around the training ground, although you have more contact with them when they do come up and train with us. I think they've got a good little age group going there.

"There's quite a few of them. Obviously there's Reece (Staunton) in defence, who's been in and around the first team making a few appearances.

"You've seen some of them come on in the competition too. There's a lot of them there (for the future) definitely."

Manager Gary Bowyer is likely to stick with a bit more experience for City's FA Cup First Round clash with Shrewsbury tomorrow and Devine cannot wait for the competition to start.

He said: "I massively look forward to it. For clubs in League One or Two it's nice to get a cup run going, get drawn against a few bigger teams, and hopefully knock them out.

"Every team wants to get as far as they can in the competition and it'll be nice if we can replicate what happened a few years back (in 2015). Manchester United at Old Trafford would probably be my dream tie as I support them.

"(As for tomorrow) Shrewsbury are in the division above us so we're not expecting an easy game at all but we know we're more than capable of going there and getting a result.

"I don't think being the underdog makes much difference. You've just got to take each game as it comes, no matter who you're playing, and we know if we go out and play how we know we can, we're confident we can get a result."