A Distant Bantam Past

ARGYLE defender Niall Canavan will come against a former club when Bradford City roll into Home Park on Saturday, although his Bantam association ended at the age of 12.

Canavan was born in Leeds but was a part of the Bradford City youth-team before being released from the Academy, which is always a difficult experience for any aspiring young footballer.

Niall moved on to Scunthorpe and played against Bradford many times in his youth career, so a club he knows very well.

“It is a club that I’ve spent a bit of time at and knew some good people there, so you don’t need any more motivation,” he said. “They’re a big team up there, they’re well supported, well followed and I’m sure they will be coming down in big numbers, so it should make it a good game.

“I was only 12 [when leaving Bradford], so nobody knows who I am. There’s only me that sort of had a grudge for three years until I ended up moving to Scunthorpe but even then, when I played them at youth level, a lot of lads that I played with were still there, so I had a bit of a grudge then but I’m a grown man now.

“It’s not really at the forefront of my mind, I’m not thinking of anyone who is there that would be bothered about it, other than a few friends from school who will text me because they’re Bradford fans. It makes no difference, it’s just another game and we’re looking to win.”

As a 12 year-old, it must have been hard to take when Canavan was released by Bradford City and he could have reacted in a variety of ways.

“[It was] pretty sore,” he said. “I think it was actually my thirteenth birthday and we had a nasty meeting on I think the Tuesday. I played for the Sunday league team on the Sunday and I think my dad had a few strong words for a couple of them [Bradford coaches].

“I just took it and enjoyed football again, that’s how I saw it, playing with my mates on a Sunday and on a Saturday, or at school. It ended working out for me anyway, so in many ways it was kind of a blessing in disguise.”

The current Bradford City are sitting third in Sky Bet League Two and enjoying a positive campaign.

“This season, they’ve had quite a turnover in players, so it’s all new and it’s all fresh,” said Niall. “They’re doing their thing and have a game plan. It’s up to us to combat that and come out on top.”