GARY Bowyer is licking his lips for the impending battle in City’s midfield.

The emergence of Jake Reeves and Chris Taylor has cranked up the competition in the Bantams engine room.

Callum Cooke could be back in the mix to face Newport at Valley Parade this weekend after his injury.

And long-term absentee Matty Palmer has taken a step closer to his long-awaited return with an hour’s involvement in a game behind closed doors.

With Hope Akpan and Danny Devine both in the squad as well, it is a welcome conundrum for the City boss in an area which looked light when the season kicked off.

Bowyer said: “It’s a good battle in there and something we want throughout the course of the season in all positions.

“You look at Chris Taylor and he’s been buzzing all week.

“He’s a professional footballer who just wanted to do his job. It was the end of November when he was finally allowed to do it.

“He will be better for the Macclesfield game, for sure. I thought he did very well to get through the 90 minutes but there were also some of the things he did.

“Knowing him as I do, he is only going to get better.”

Taylor’s short-term deal runs only until mid-January but Bowyer is expected to review that if the former Blackburn and Blackpool man impresses over the next month.

Bowyer added: “I know all about Chris and it was just a case of getting him in. Then we’ll go from that.

“When we get closer to January and we know what we can and can’t do, that’s a conversation that we will have.”

Bowyer is not anticipating any issues with Palmer’s parent club Rotherham in the window as he continues to recover from the knee problem that has kept him out since September.

“There’s been no contact at this stage to my knowledge,” he said.

“Matty was starting to perform to the levels we knew that he could when he picked up his injury.

“That’s obviously limited his game time so I’m sure Rotherham will want him to stay with us and keep playing.

“For Matty to get to an hour in his first game back was fantastic and it was the same with Shay McCartan.

“He obviously hasn’t been out as long but we want him back fit ready to go and to not break down again. That’s the most important thing for him.”

Cooke hopes to train again today after the heavy knock he suffered at Plymouth.

Bowyer said: "Injuries have provided opportunities for others. Up until the last couple of games, we’ve managed to produce results as well."