By Andrew Baxter
Since the start of the 2009/10 season, eight players have come through City’s youth academy to make a league appearance for the Bantams. However, they have made a combined total of just 12 appearances between them. It is evident that there has not been a youth team graduate that has had a prolonged spell in the first team since Luke O’Brien.
For Jack Stockdill and Louie Swain, the ultimate aim must surely be to break this trend.
Although it is unlikely that both will establish themselves in the first team this season, regular playing development is necessary to continue their progress. Perhaps a loan move across the city to Bradford Park Avenue could be possible?
Stockdill, a 17 year old second year apprentice, is a central midfielder, but can also play at right back. Having seen Stockdill play for the reserves, it is evident that his work rate is impressive. In a similar style of play to Gary Jones, Stockdill could find inspiration from the performances of City’s skipper that will only benefit and advance his game. Stockdill, unlike Swain, is still eligible for youth-team football, so will have the opportunity of regular Saturday matches even without a loan spell. However, a temporary move would give Jack a taste of senior football, and allow him to get used to the physicality of the professional game.
As for Swain, a youth team graduate, he relies on strength and aerial ability for his game, as a striker. Like Stockdill, he will be looking to make a few appearances in the first team football this season and it will do him no harm to try and pick up some tips from James Hanson, who is surely the type of player that Swain is trying to emulate and look up to.
It is worth noting that Swain and Stockdill have featured heavily in pre-season, earning very favourable reviews: could this be a signal by Parkinson that the pair are in his plans for this season?
Both youngsters still have plenty of room for improvement, but need to be playing regularly at a good standard, in order for this development to continue. And consequently both Stockdill and Swain will be aiming to gain experience and first team football this season, most likely by local non-league clubs borrowing them for a spell.
Categories: Season Preview