THE welcome return of Alex Pattison and Jake Young has offered City peace of mind.

Saturday’s first friendly at Chorley was little more than an extension of the hard toil the players have been putting in on the Apperley Bridge training pitch.

Football wise, there wasn’t much to write home about from an early glimpse of the Bantams back in action.

But it was a milestone for Pattison and Young after their long spells on the Valley Parade sidelines – and for the watching Graham Alexander.

The City boss had consciously resisted the temptation to drip-feed Pattison back into the fray in the closing weeks of last season.

And he had watched Young go under the knife for a hamstring operation that all parties knew would take the striker out of the equation for the first half of the year.

But both were back to get their 45-minute outing at Victory Park – a big moment for everyone concerned.

Pattison, in particular, looked bright and energetic and keen to get on the ball as part of City’s second-half team. He had not stepped on a pitch since Doncaster away three days before Christmas.

Alexander had described the pair as “two new signings” before pre-season had begun and was pleased to see them tick off that return appearance.

“They were both coming off the back of missing a big chunk,” he said. “It was virtually the whole season for Patto and Jake missed everything from January.

“Those boys have worked exceptionally hard to put themselves in this position.”

Jake Young started up front alongside Vadaine OliverJake Young started up front alongside Vadaine Oliver (Image: Max Lomas)

Alexander and the coaching staff were understandably cautious, scrutinising the numbers from the dug-out to make sure neither player got over-worked.

“We just kept on looking on the iPad at the data and checking they were okay. If it went a bit too high, we’d have probably taken them off.

“But it was just about right and I think the confidence of getting through 45 minutes harm-free will be good for their mind.

“I know coming off a long term out, it’s just as important building up your confidence mentally as it is with your body.”

Pattison and Young are likely to see more game time this afternoon when City are in behind-closed-doors action against another EFL side.

The match, which is being kept under wraps by both clubs, will offer Alexander the chance to bring players on and off to keep rotating the team.