LEE Novak is close to making his City comeback at Port Vale this weekend.

The striker has not featured at all in 2021 after suffering a knee injury in training.

His last appearance was in the goalless initial fixture against Vale at Valley Parade on December 29.

But the Bantams have remained hopeful that Novak would play again this season – and he could be in contention for Saturday.

“He’s close and could potentially be ready for the weekend,” said joint-boss Mark Trueman. “We’ll assess him today to see how he is.”

Novak was an influential figure when Trueman and Conor Sellars succeeded Stuart McCall, scoring three goals in their first four games.

Novak’s return, coming on the back of Callum Cooke’s first outing in 11 games, may provide a much-needed lift after three successive losses have effectively killed off City’s play-off hopes.

They are now seven points adrift ahead of a visit to an in-form Vale, who have won seven of their last eight.

The Bantams have gone the other way since early March.

Trueman admitted: “We were consistent in our performances and the results we were getting.

“We got a few injuries and it had to change. We tried different personnel in certain areas and it stopped the momentum slightly.

“That’s football. The players that get given a chance have to come in and perform and find ways to win. We had to change as well.”

Trueman revealed Danny Rowe’s frustration at not being involved for the second game running.

He was left unused on the bench again in the Tranmere defeat and has started only one of City’s last eight matches.

“Danny wants to play football. But we’ve got a lot of good strikers in the building, Lee Novak is coming back, and there is more and more competition.

“Cooky (Andy Cook) knows he has to perform to stay in the team and that pressure is coming from Danny Rowe.

“When Danny was playing week in, week out, Cooky had to bide his time and wait for a dip in performance to get his chance.

“That’s the environment we need at this club.

"Players need to know that if their performance levels drop, then other players will come in and try to take the spot.”