Mark Trueman had confirmed his third signing of his newly acquired and rejuvenated Bradford City side, in the form of centre-back Niall Canavan.
Canavan, who is 29 years old, has made the long journey from Plymouth to West Yorkshire to get this deal over the line, joining the Bantams on a 18-month contract and tying him down to the Utilita Energy Stadium until the end of next season.
Once in the Bradford youth ranks, Canavan is no stranger to West Yorkshire, having been born in Leeds and risen through the Bantams academy before being released at age 12. Canavan opted to join Scunthorpe United’s academy, where he would go on to break into the Iron first team and become a stalwart in his seven year tenure.
The centre-back made 154 appearances in the claret and blue of Scunthorpe, and even achieved promotion in the 2013/14 season in a year which saw Canavan form a formidable partnership at the back with David Mirfin.
However in February of 2016, Canavan said goodbye to the club which gave him a chance and made his emergency loan spell at Rochdale a permanent occurrence, joining the Lancashire club on a two year deal. He made just 39 appearances in the two years and acted mainly as a back-up, and so he departed the club once his contract expired.
Canavan signed for fellow League One outfit Plymouth Argyle, but was unfortunately relegated with the Pirates in his first year at the club, making 33 appearances. Canavan decided to stick around and make things right however, as he lead the back-line in Argyle’s immediate promotion from League Two, becoming a fan favourite and recognisable commander on and off of the pitch.
As Bantams scapegoat Ben Richards-Everton left the club by mutual consent on Monday, Canavan was brought in for an undisclosed fee as immediate replacement, and an applaudable upgrade too. An experienced, no-nonsense leader at the back is something City have lacked so far this season, and especially with Reece Staunton suffering a lengthy injury, Paudie and Anthony O’Connor have been carrying the back-line for the majority of the campaign.
Opportunities have been limited for Canavan in League One recently, so he’ll be hoping to break into the City first team and flourish under the management of Mark Trueman, especially now that the Bradford City uprising has begun.
A strong, defensive acquisition to the Bradford first team, and an admirable replacement for Richards-Everton, could Niall Canavan be the hard-man leader the Bantams have lacked since Gary Jones left the club in 2014?
featured image credit Plymouth Live