Bradford City boss Gary Bowyer could hardly hide his delight after the League Two outfit snapped up Paudie O’Connor from Yorkshire neighbours Leeds United, speaking to the club’s official website.
After spending the second half of last season on loan at Valley Parade, the Irishman has now joined the Bantams on a permanent basis, signing a three-year contract after turning down the chance to join a number of other third tier clubs.
Leeds fans might be disappointed to see the 21-year-old go, particularly as The Whites are short of depth at centre-half.
But Marcelo Bielsa decided that O’Connor was surplus to requirements at Elland Road, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post, and had no qualms about releasing a player who was handed his senior debut during the ill-fated reign of Paul Heckingbottom.
While Bielsa wasn’t a fan of the former Limerick youngster, however, Bowyer clearly is.
“We are delighted to have secured Paudie on a permanent deal and look forward to seeing him develop even further,” said the former Blackburn Rovers coach.
“I signed him last year, at Blackpool, and everyone knows what I think of him as a player and a character. In my opinion, he has the desire and ability to play at a higher level.
“He displayed great leadership skills when we gave him the captain’s armband at the end of last season. We will need those qualities again in this difficult division.”
It remains to be seen whether O’Connor really does, as Bowyer suggests, have the ‘ability to play at a higher level’ and whether Leeds made a mistake letting the talented centre-back go after just four first-team appearances.
He could have played a key role for Leeds next season with Leeds’ rather small squad in need of some competition.
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