Fast learner Greg Leigh hoping to make name for himself at Bradford City

Greg Leigh, in action while on loan at Crewe Alexandra against Sheffield United last season. Picture: Martyn Harrison.
Greg Leigh, in action while on loan at Crewe Alexandra against Sheffield United last season. Picture: Martyn Harrison.
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GREG LEIGH had more cause than most to be disappointed by the deluge of rain that caused the late postponement of Bradford City’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against Blackpool earlier this week.

The 21-year-old had been named in the starting line-up and was eagerly looking forward to his debut in Bantams’ colours.

His disappointment came on the back of tomorrow’s League One clash with Blackpool – another fixture he was likely to start due to first choice left-back James Meredith being away on international duty with Australia – having been postponed the previous day due to Rory McArdle’s late call-up by Northern Ireland.

Not that this double setback is going to affect Leigh, who remains as determined as ever to make his name at Valley Parade after joining from Manchester City on a permanent deal during the summer.

“One thing I have done through my career – and I know it has been a short one – is to test myself,” said the Bantams defender.

“For example, I played Under-21s football when I was in the Under-19s. So, I was playing two years ahead.

“Then I had to test myself again so I went on loan last year (to Crewe). After that, I felt that I needed another challenge. Being a second-choice left back, you have got to fight your way to get in the team. When you get the opportunity, you have got to take it.

“Being the club this is with the players we have got, it would test me more. That is what I felt.”

Leigh joined the Manchester City youth set-up at the age of just nine. He may have left in the summer but there is little doubt the affection the 21-year-old still retains for the club.

“I was there through the takeover from Abu Dhabi and it was interesting to see how the club developed,” he added.

“I was at (former training ground) Platt Lane, where the facilities were always good. But from there to Carrington and moving to the Etihad Campus now has been amazing to watch.

“It is a good club. They have always been a family-orientated club, which is a good trait to have. They look after the ex-players like Shaun Goater and the older ones.

“If I ever need Patrick Vieria (City’s head of elite development), I can get in touch with him. At the beginning of the summer, I didn’t have anywhere to train because I was a free agent so I trained with the 21s back at City.“

The City that Leigh is now focusing on is Bradford, of course, and his bid to hold down a first-team berth, not the easiest of tasks thanks to the startling form of Meredith.

“I want to be involved in the team,” he added. “But I have also learned so much since coming here. It has been great to watch James Meredith. He is someone of a high calibre, who always plays so well.

“The manager here has had a settled back four for quite a while. He trusts them and has known them for years, so it is always hard to break in.

“But they have to change over time – it is getting people in who you think can come in one by one and do the job.

“Reece Burke has come in (on loan from West Ham) and the manager obviously trusts him straight away. A lot of people come up and ask for my signature and then say, “Who are you again?” I want to make my name known in football, especially at Bradford.”