Joe Colbeck today admitted his City career was rescued by a six-week spell at Darlington.

The flying winger is currently basking in his best run of form at Valley Parade after winning over Stuart McCall and the fans.

And as he prepares for tomorrow's return to the Darlington Arena, Colbeck revealed he owes the Quakers a huge debt of gratitude.

The 21-year-old played six games on loan for them earlier in the season - a short-term fix that gave him the injection of confidence to come back and force his way into the City side.

"It did me the world of good at Darlington," said Colbeck. "I definitely think it has made me a better player.

"When you're asked about going on loan, you always think the worst. The gaffer said it was only for the short term to get some confidence but in the back of my mind I was still wondering if I would ever play for Bradford again.

"But I went into my first game at Darlington feeling that the pressure was off. I wasn't worried about whether I'd be playing or not and just went out and enjoyed my football.

"That's when you get the best out of yourself and that's what I'm doing now. My confidence is high and I'm going into games thinking about scoring goals or getting that end product rather than worrying if I'm going to be in the side or not."

Darlington were so pleased with Colbeck's contribution that Dave Penney tried to sign him in January - a bid that City rejected. Colbeck, who netted his fourth City goal of the season last week at Rotherham, is geared up for a special reception from the Quakers chief when their paths cross once again.

He added: "Dave Penney knows what I can do and I'm sure he'll tell their lads to give me a big tackle in the first ten minutes to put me out of the game! That's the type of manager he is but I'm looking forward to going up there and punishing them.

"It always helps your confidence knowing that other managers are interested. But I'm very happy at Bradford playing week-in, week-out and I want to keep building on my form for the rest of the season."

Colbeck has another year to go on his contract and is one of the lucky few not to be involved in the scramble for new deals.

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