Vadaine Oliver's injury has not stopped Bradford City striker contributing to promotion push

Mark Hughes says Vadaine Oliver has been contributing to Bradford City's promotion push even when not on the field anywhere near as often as he would like.

Much was expected when the striker signed from Gillingham but injuries and the form of 30-goal Andy Cook have limited him to just eight League Two starts and three goals.

And know he has undergone knee surgery, the 31-year-old's season is over but not, says manager Hughes, his contribution.

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Because Oliver makes a point of trying to help even when injured.

"Truth be told it hasn't been the season he would have wanted just through injuries, the outstanding form of Andy Cook and a number of factors that haven't allowed him to have a real run in the side, then the knee injury that has curtailed his season," reflected Hughes.

"He would have wanted to finish with a flourish.

He's a really good guy, really important around the building. He went under the knife on Thursday but he said straight away that's not him going on the beach and us not seeing him until next season, he's going to be in and around the place giving everyone encouragement like he has done all season.

"It's a season he'll look back on with frustration but that will just make him more determined to come back strongly.

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INJURY BLOW: Bradford City striker Vadaine Oliver has had knee surgeryINJURY BLOW: Bradford City striker Vadaine Oliver has had knee surgery
INJURY BLOW: Bradford City striker Vadaine Oliver has had knee surgery

"It's important (players continue contributing). They're a voice and if they're not even in the building and not taking a role in the group, you miss it because you're used to the noise, actually! The energy they're able to generate for the group is still at the same level."

And with Bradford handing out longer contracts than normal for a League Two club last summer, Oliver has two more years to prove his worth at Valley Parade.

"He wants to make a real impression and I sense once he gets this issue with his knee sorted we'll see what Vadaine can really produce," said Hughes. "He doesn't bear a grudge (about his lack of starts), he's just pleased the team's been able to create that amount of chances for Andy."

Bradford are at Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday knowing a draw will confirm them in the play-offs but only a win will take their chances of automatic promotion to the final game, at home to Leyton Orient.