IF JAKE Young emerges as the true prodigal son in City’s season, fans should raise a pint to Michael Flynn.

The transfer window’s worst-kept secret was officially confirmed by the club this morning with the news that Young is heading back to BD8.

The wheels were set in motion on Sunday but activating the recall clause in his Swindon loan was always a no-brainer with those 16 league goals under his belt.

Even if he does not burst straight into the team, why take the risk of Young striking gold again for another side in the same division?

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But everyone at Valley Parade will be hoping that the 22-year-old can rekindle that Swindon form in claret and amber and finally demonstrate why City brought him back to his native West Yorkshire on a long-term deal in the first place.

Young, of course, still has another 18 months on the contract he signed when Mark Hughes took him from Forest Green.

All he has been aching for is the opportunity to justify that.

And that’s where we should tip the hat to former Bantams favourite Flynn.

Young must have been at his lowest ebb when the ex-City skipper took the punt on a loan move just days before the season kicked off.

Swindon picked up a player from the deep freeze – totally out of the picture with Hughes.

He had not played a City game since the previous October and was shipped off to Barrow for an unsuccessful loan stint in the middle of last season.

“I was 21 and to be deemed not good enough three months into a four-year deal was tough,” Young admitted in a recent interview with PA Sport, “especially when it’s somewhere I wanted to be.

“It’s something you’ve always wanted to do and when you find yourself not enjoying it anymore that’s the hardest part.”

Young was, at least, handed the shirt number 28 for the current campaign but that was as close as he got.

Being told at the last minute that he would not be joining the rest of the City squad for July’s training camp in Spain was the final straw.

The only senior player not to get on the flight, the message from the management could not have been clearer: Got get yourself gone and play somewhere else.

Young rejected interest from two National League clubs before making his only pre-season appearance – a 45-minute run-out among a team of kids at Bradford (Park Avenue).



Two weeks later, he was 200 miles south under Flynn’s wing. And the rehabilitation of his career had begun.

Seven goals in his first four league games, including a four against Crawley, saw Young crowned the division’s player of the month – an accolade he would repeat in November after a run of scoring in six consecutive appearances.

Young has spoken keenly about Flynn’s role in rejuvenating his fortunes.

“He just made me feel like a good player from the minute I walked in the door and before I even touched a football. He's made me feel like I belong.”

Young has not netted in six games – and Swindon have lost five of them to put a bit of heat on Flynn as their season dips after the promising first few months.

But he won’t find too many detractors at this end of the country if Young can deliver again in Bantams colours.

“One man’s opinion” was Young’s reasoning for his lack of previous chances at the club. Flynn had a very different view about a player who was “a joy to work with”.

Returning to City should not come as a wrench. A clean slate awaits.

Settling himself back into the dressing room won’t be a problem for one of the founder members of the Harry Lewis coffee club.

And when Young meets Graham Alexander face-to-face for the first time, he will encounter a manager prepared to give him every opportunity to stake a claim.

Now it’s all down to him – with an assist from the one-time Bantam who put an arm round him when it was most needed.