Stuart McCall reckons Joe Colbeck is “gambling” on his future after rejecting City’s long-term offer.

The winger is still a Bantams player and will rejoin his team-mates for the start of pre-season training on Wednesday.

But he will be operating on only a week-to-week contract, having turned down City’s deal of three years plus an option.

Colbeck has convinced McCall he will be as hungry as ever for the battle ahead – and believes he can rediscover the match-winning form that earned him the player of the year mantle in 2008.

The City boss is backing him to deliver but admits, in the same position, he would have snatched up the money the club had put on the table.

McCall said: “I thought we made him a decent deal but we weren’t able to agree with Joe and his advisor.

“Joe doesn’t want to go and in his mind he’s going to go out and be the best he possibly can for us, then come knocking on my door next year and asking for a contract he thinks he should be getting. It’s his decision and I admire his focus and self belief. I genuinely hope the gamble – because it is a big one – does pay off.

“But the bottom line is that he stays on his wage from last year and misses the increase we were giving him. So we’re getting a very committed individual with everything to fight for who wants to play every game for us and is doing that on less money.”

Colbeck’s decision mirrors that taken by Luke O’Brien, which is not surprising considering they share the same agent.

Both youngsters are backing their ability to earn a potentially more lucrative deal later on.

But McCall cited the example of Andy O’Brien’s £2m move to Newcastle soon after he had penned a long-term contract as proof that security does not mean a lack of ambition.

He added: “Andy asked my advice at the time and I told him to take the money offered while it’s there.

“Don’t worry about the length of contract, if a club wants you they will come and get you. Newcastle came in eight months later and took him, yet he’d still upped his wage in that time.

“You don’t know how football’s going to go. At the moment there are so many people shunting down divisions and so many are going to be out of the game.”

Because Colbeck is under 24, City would be entitled to any compensation if he did move. Given the time he has spent at Valley Parade, it could even approach six figures.

That fee is not affected by his week-to-week deal because the club had already made an offer that was better than his previous one. The fact Colbeck turned it down would make no difference with any transfer tribunal.

McCall could have done without the wrangle on the eve of pre-season but he knows the winger will remain as enthusiastic as ever.

He said: “If I thought it was the case that Joe didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t stand in his way.

“If he was just signing a week-to-week because he was looking to go, I would pack his boots myself to get him out.

“But I’ve sat down with Joe and that’s not the case. You can only take players on what they say to you and I trust him.

“He’s determined to come back and do well again. He didn’t rediscover the form he had before the injury last season and Joe knows that.

“But it’s a clean slate, a new season, and he wants to perform just like he did when he was our player of the year. And there would be nobody happier than me if he comes knocking on my door again having done that.

“Julian (Rhodes) is laughing. On the face of it, we’re paying him less money than we agreed to and we’re going to have an even hungrier player.”