Bantams duo triumph in mind games after lengthy injury layoff

The welcome return of Bradford city has given City some piece of mind.
Saturday’s first friendly at Chorley was little more than a continuation of the players’ hard work on the Apperley Bridge training pitch.

Football-wise, there wasn’t much to write home about in an early look at the Bantams back in action.

But it was a watershed moment for Pattison and Young, as well as Graham Alexander, who had been watching from the sidelines for so long.

Return to the fray in the final weeks of the season.

And he had seen Young undergo a hamstring surgery, which all parties knew would rule the striker out for the first half of the season.

But both returned for their 45-minute appearance at Victory Park, a significant event for everyone involved.
Pattison, in particular, appeared bright and active, eager to get on the ball as a member of City’s second-half squad. He hadn’t played since Doncaster away three days before Christmas.

Alexander had labelled the pair as “two new signings” before preseason began, and he was thrilled to see them make their return appearance.

“They were both coming off the back of missing a big chunk,” he told me. “Patto missed almost the entire season, and Jake was out since January.

“Those boys have worked exceptionally hard to put themselves in this position.”
Alexander and the coaching staff were understandably careful, scrutinising the data from the dugout to ensure no player was overworked.

“We just kept monitoring the statistics on the iPad to make sure everything was good. If it had gotten too high, we would have probably pulled them off.

“But it was just about appropriate, and I believe the confidence gained from completing 45 minutes without harm will be beneficial to their mental health.

“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 set to see further playing time this afternoon, when City face another EFL team behind closed doors.

Both clubs are keeping the match under wraps, although Alexander will be able to put players on and off as needed to keep the team moving.

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