RYAN McGowan will miss at least the next six City games, Simon Grayson has confirmed.

The Bantams boss has ruled out the defender for a month initially – meaning the Australian will sit out a minimum of half of the remaining schedule.

But Grayson is staying open minded about McGowan's chances of being involved over the final weeks as he recovers from a recent knee operation.

Grayson said: "We don't want to put any precise timescale on him because he could come back quicker – or it could take him longer.

"I don't want to disappoint anybody or get their hopes up. But it's probably going to be at least a month, potentially longer. It won't be less than that.

"It's one of those where you've got to be careful not to push the lad back too quickly.

"But obviously we'd like him to be back for some games because he has made a very good impression so far."

McGowan suffered the injury in Grayson's first match at the helm away to Charlton.

He had been City's best player that night and was equally impressive in his first two appearances against Oldham and Bury.

"It's frustrating but I thought (Matt) Kilgallon and (Nat) Knight-Percival both defended well last weekend against Plymouth," said Grayson.

"But it's nice having those options with so many games coming up and Ryan has settled in very quickly at the club.

"He did very well in one of the games I watched before coming here and the one I was involved in.

"We want as many bodies as available for selection because you want the competition and edge to training and games to get results."

City returned to training yesterday after last week's wintry weather left their plans at a standstill.

The players enjoyed an unexpected extended free weekend after the Portsmouth game was postponed.

Grayson said: "We managed to get a little bit of work in the early part of the week before the snow came. But obviously it's been difficult for everyone.

"With the game being off anyway, you're not going to get players any fitter at this stage of the season.

"A little break gives them the chance to come back feeling a bit sharper and brighter in their minds.

"Maybe being away for a few days will get them feeling fresh for this run of games we've got coming up now. It's an opportunity to clear minds and get the legs going again."