Working with Derek Adams was a huge draw for Bradford City new boy Dion Pereira

Derek Adams has already turned one Luton Town youngster into a goalscorer, now Dion Pereira is hoping to be the next.

When the 22-year-old this week became Bradford City’s first signing of 2022, he arrived with a reputation as a maker but not a taker of goals.

Left-sided forward Mendes Gomes was seen in a similar light when he joined Morecambe, then managed by Adams, but 17 goals in 69 league games for him persuaded Luton to write a cheque in the summer.

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After six months as a team-mate of Gomes, Luton have loaned Pereira has been loaned out for his own course.

Key influence: Derek Adams' work with Mendes Gomes at Morecambe saw the winger earn a move to Luton - Dion Pereira's parent club - and the winger is hoping Adams can improve his game too. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire.

“The gaffer’s said I’m tricky, I can create chances, but I need to show I can score goals,” says Pereira, a left-footer Bantams fans can expect to see plenty of on the right. “That’s what me and the gaffer need to work on.”

With their fanbase and a history even someone of Pereira’s tender years will have seen some of the highlights of, Bradford have plenty to attract players on their own, but the draw of Adams was significant in this particular deal.

“That was a big factor of me coming here, speaking to Carlos and seeing his growth as a player under the gaffer at Morecambe, seeing how the gaffer put Carlos in positions off the ball which allowed him to score more goals, create more assists, and that’s exactly what the plan is for me,” explains the Watford-born player who came through the academy of his hometown club.

“We spoke about the plans and one of the plans was to play off the right coming onto my left foot, linking up with forwards, taking shots, crosses, and also being able to play the No 10 role, trying to cut open defenders and create a lot of chances for our strikers and score a lot of goals myself.

“I’m very creative going forward, creating chances, getting past my defender, getting balls in the box, through balls, shots, I like cutting inside from the right and just getting on the ball and showing the fans excitement and flair.

“Me and Carlos spoke about this quite a lot. We’re very similar players in that side of the game. He was on the left, cutting in on his right, and I’m on the right cutting in on my left. He gave me a few tips and once I got here the gaffer told me what can help my game and I’m going to take it on board because he’s experienced and it’s worked for Carlos.

“I can’t thank the gaffer enough because he’s given me the opportunity to play games, to show not only the Bradford fans but everyone from the past what I can do and what I haven’t done in the past.”

Goal-makers is not something the Bantams have been short of under Adams; players they can bank on to take them - especially fit ones - is.

So talking so openly about such an easily-measured metric as his goalscoring at a very well-supported club which expects to win promotion from League Two this season but are currently only 12th is piling the pressure on Pereira’s young shoulders. Good. He wants that.

“If you can’t deal with the spotlight you’re in the wrong job,” he shrugs.

He had a taste of it on a loan spell with Major League Soccer side Atlanta United in 2019. It is the only time he has played regular first-team football and he wants more.

“When people talk about League Two they don’t realise it’s as big as it actually is,” he says.

“When I spoke to my agent about Bradford and he said they average 15,000 fans it took me by surprise but looking at the stadium you can never been surprised at it because the stadium’s massive and I’ve seen some of the fans on the highlights on You Tube, it (the atmosphere) is amazing.

“I was 16, 17 year-old when I started playing under-23 football so I’ve been doing that four to five years. When I went out to America it was my first season playing first-team football regularly.

“As soon as I signed for the first team with Luton I started training with them and realised this is what I want. I sat on the bench numerous times, saw the level and believed I could play at that level. I just need to prove I can.

“My Luton gaffer (Nathan Jones) told me I need to prove myself and that’s what I’m here to do. If I can do it at Bradford City I can do it virtually everywhere because it’s such a big stadium, there’s a lot of fans, and if I can do it here I won’t have a problem in the future.”

Even the slog the second half of the season will inevitably be after a Covid-ruined Christmas appeals to him.

“Seeing all the games postponed there will be so many games,” he says, delighted, not daunted by it. “In February there’s a two-week period of five games. We’ve got a big squad here so you can filter players in and out but the aim of the game is to play the most games.”

Pereira is likely to be Bradford’s only debutant at Carlisle United tomorrow for a League Two game Niall Canavan and Abo Eisa will miss, but there will almost certainly be more this month. Hopefully they all have the same fearless attitude and hunger to learn.