Matt Clarke has been given the seal of approval by Stuart McCall after breaking into the side.

The 26-year-old has so far justified the manager's decision to make a change at the heart of the defence, with the Bantams having won all three games since he replaced Mark Bower.

Clarke gave his best performance yet in the 4-1 victory at Dagenham & Redbridge, when City's defence were made to work hard despite the margin of victory.

McCall said: "He's done well since he's come in and was excellent on Saturday. He made some really good interceptions."

City fans have not seen the best of the Leeds-born defender since he signed in June last year after playing nearly 200 games for Darlington.

The former Quakers captain made just six starts last season and then missed the beginning of this campaign with hamstring damage.

McCall said: "He started pre-season well but then got injured and has had a succession of niggling problems.

"The form of Mark Bower and David Wetherall had been consistent. We'd been losing goals to individual errors but none were down to the central two.

"But Clarkey has got himself fit and earned his chance and I needed to have a look at him."

City - who look to make it four wins on the bounce at home to Stockport on Saturday - have conceded just two goals in three games since Clarke has come in.

He has added pace to the back four and is now praying his injury jinx is over, and McCall said that partly depended on the player himself.

He said: "There are things that Matt can do to help his body. Everyone will get kicked but pulls and strains can be prevented by doing the correct exercises."

McCall acknowledged that competition at centre-half was healthy and expected Bower, who was an ever-present in the league for nearly two years, to fight hard to regain his place.

"He has been a great servant of the club and will still have a big part to play in the season. Missing out is part and parcel of the game and he wants to get himself back in there."

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