Bradford boss explains why Leeds loanee Paudie O'Connor is being omitted

A general view of the Billy Bremner statue outside Elland Road during the Pre Season Friendly match between Leeds United and Everton at Elland Road on August 1, 2015 in Leeds, England.

Championship promotion chasers Leeds United loaned young defender Paudie O'Connor out to League One neighbours Bradford City in the January window.

Blackpool's Paudie O'Connor during the FA Cup Third Round match between Blackpool and Arsenal at Bloomfield Road on January 5, 2019 in Blackpool, United Kingdom.

Bradford City manager David Hopkin has spoken to the Telegraph and Argus to explain why Paudie O’Connor has found himself out of the team since arriving on loan from Leeds United in the January transfer window.

The 21-year-old spent the first half of the season at Blackpool but left Bloomfield Road for Valley Parade last month, agreeing a deal to stay with The Bantams until the end of the 2018/19 season.

O’Connor has found game time hard to come by so far, however, playing just one minute of League One football since being hauled off at half-time on his debut, a 3-0 defeat to Barnsley last month.

 

But Hopkin has claimed that O’Connor’s ongoing omission is down to an FA ruling that prevents Football League clubs from including more than five loanees in a matchday squad. He was also at pains to point out that the Irishman remains a key part of his plans at Bradford.

“He missed out again (against Fleetwood on Saturday) because of the ruling. But I’ve not ruled out bringing him back in and it might have to be one of the other loans who sit out,” Hopkin said.

“(Chairman) Julian (Rhodes) spoke to Leeds last week and I’ve talked to them about the situation. I think everybody is happy. Paudie is quite receptive to how things are going here.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal is challenged by Paudie O'Connor of Blackpool during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Blackpool at Emirates Stadium on October 31,...

“I’ve told him that if he does get a chance in the team then he won’t be on the bench. He’ll be straight in again.”

Leeds signed O’Connor from Limerick in the summer of 2017 and he looked impressive when given a chance by the West Yorkshire giants last season, making four appearances in all competitions.

The jury remains out, however, about whether he can make the step up and play for Leeds regularly and his lack of regular starts at both Blackpool and Bradford could perhaps raise a few doubts.

5th January 2019, Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, England; Emirates FA Cup third round football, Blackpool versus Arsenal; Paudie O'Connor of Blackpool tackles Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal

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