Oldham v Bradford: Cole determined to make a name for himself on Parade

Bradford City's Devante Cole.
Bradford City's Devante Cole.
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FOLLOWING in the footballing footsteps of your feted father is never easy.

Granted, it did not prove a millstone around the necks of the likes of Paolo Maldini, Jamie Redknapp or Shaun Wright-Phillips, while others such as Tom Ince and Kasper Schmeichel are carving out their own niche despite their famous dad’s name.

But others have not had it so straightforward. Think Paul Dalglish, Jordi Cruyff, Charlie Sheringham and Darren Ferguson, whose careers failed to hit anything like the heights of their fathers. There are many more examples besides.

To be a success, you need not just ability, but mental strength and a spot of single-mindedness, to boot.

In that respect, the signs are promising for Bradford City striker Devante Cole, who has decided to branch out on his own at Valley Parade after failing to crack it at a Premier League powerhouse club in Manchester City.

His father Andy, who went on to enjoy a decorated career with the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle United, made a similar career-defining move in 1992 when he left another footballing institution in Arsenal to head to another City – Bristol.

The rest was history, with Cole senior not looking back after that fateful decision.

Now his lad, who possesses that same steely look in his eye and quiet sense of determination, is seeking a re-run.

It is clear upon speaking to him that making his name is his own right is a big motivation.

On coping with the pressure of the family name, Cole said: “I’m really used to it now.

“My aim is to make a name for myself so that people look at me differently to my dad – although that’s obviously going to be there and I have got to get on with that.

“It (the name) works both ways; it works for me and against me. But I want people to know me for me.”

On deciding to join Bradford, Cole junior, 20, aiming to follow up his dramatic debut winner against Port Vale last weekend with another key input at Oldham today, said: “I had a lot of interest in the summer and a few things didn’t materialise and there was a lot of messing around in the end and I just wanted to get back playing football.

“I met the manager (Phil Parkinson) last week on Tuesday and liked what he had to say. I spoke to other people and thought: ‘I’m going to go with Bradford.’ I spoke with my dad, but it was my decision to leave (Manchester) City. He said there was a big fanbase at Bradford and that you could go there and make a big name for yourself. But he said: ‘it’s up to you.’

“I got a new deal there (at Manchester City), but decided to turn it down and decided to leave because I just want to go out there and play football now.

“Obviously, from the outside looking in, it’s a massive club with great facilities; one that has got everything. But you realise as a young player really what it is like. It’s a lot harder than people think and there’s a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that are not the best.”

Cole’s late intervention from the bench last weekend may have seen his name in lights.

But just as important was the fact that it ended City’s winless start to the campaign with Phil Parkinson’s side now seeking to double up with their first away win of 2015-16 at Boundary Park – a house of pain in recent seasons.

City lost there twice last term and have been beaten on six of their last seven visits with Cole hoping the win against Vale will provide momentum.

Cole, who rebuffed summer interest from Barnsley, where he spent a loan spell in the first half of last season, added: “Hopefully, we have got the win under us and can really start playing now and get the ball down and knock it around and play our football.”

On his debut goal, he added: “It was exciting and, obviously, it was a great feeling to come on and get the winner on my debut. It turned out to be a very good weekend.

“To be fair, after I signed on the Friday, I grabbed dinner with my mates and I said to them: ‘I’ll score on Saturday’, as I had a feeling I’d score.

“It’s got to be up there, scoring on your debut. I think it will always be up there wherever you are in your career, definitely right up there.”

Last six games: Oldham LWDDDL; Bradford LLDLDW.

Referee: M Heywood (Cheshire).

Last time: Oldham 2 Bradford 1; October 25, 2014; League One.