Former Bradford City academy player and ballboy Niall Canavan finally set for debut after rejoining boyhood club aged 29

Niall Canavan has fulfilled a boyhood dream by returning to Bradford City years after leaving the academy.

LIVING THE DREAM: Niall Canavan poses with his Bradford City shirt

The former Valley Parade ballboy has signed for an undisclosed fee, effectively replacing Ben Richards-Everton, who was released from the final months of his contract on Monday. His place in the squad has been taken by Canavan, who joins on an 18-month deal from Plymouth Argyle.

The Leeds-born centre-back is the Bantams' third signing this month, after goalkeeper Will Huffer and winger Jordan Stevens, who is on loan from Leeds United.

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“I am delighted to be here,” said the 6ft 4in former Republic of Ireland international. “I have always wanted to play for this club and it is a great chance for me to come home.

“I grew up watching Bradford City and have always had that ambition to be one of the lads who runs out at Valley Parade. I was in the academy as a young lad and used to come here a lot as a ballboy.

“As soon as the call came in, I was very eager to get the deal done and, thankfully, we have been able to get everything sorted. This is a brilliant club and I am looking forward to pushing on.”

The 29-year-old's experience having won promotion from League Two with Plymouth last season also appealed to the Bantams. Before joining the Pilgrims he played for Scunthorpe United and Rochdale.

“Having first been identified by Lee Turnbull, Niall was a player we were very keen to bring to Bradford City, so are delighted to have got the deal done,” said a statement from joint interim managers Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars.

“His experience at this level and above is there for all to see, and the fact he has left a club from a higher division speaks volumes of how much he is bought in to what we want to achieve.

“He joins the team he grew up supporting and carries characteristics which typify what this club stands for.”

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