Bradford City manager Gary Bowyer plans to target Leeds United defender Paudie O’Connor on loan again next season as he attempts to conjure a promotion campaign in League Two.
Bowyer will ask Leeds to send O’Connor back to Valley Parade in the summer with the defender’s half-season deal with relegated City almost at an end.
O’Connor, the Irish centre-back Leeds signed from Limerick in 2017, started the season under Bowyer at Blackpool but cut short his stay there in January having failed to play regularly.
He moved onto Bradford but barely featured until Bowyer arrived as manager in the wake of David Hopkin’s resignation.
City have since been relegated and sit six points adrift at the bottom of League One but O’Connor has started their last five games and wore the captain’s armband in a 1-1 draw with Gillingham on Monday.
Bowyer told the Telegraph and Argus: “Paudie’s a good character. When I did my homework in the summer when I was bringing him (to Blackpool), I spoke to the appropriate people.
“They all gave him glowing references. They all told me what a good lad he was, what a good character and certainly what a good player. He’s competitive and for someone so young he talks ever so well.
“He’s a good organiser and I had no problems giving him the captain’s armband. I spoke to him on Sunday about it. But I’m going to shut up now talking about him because I don’t want anybody to take him in the summer, bar us.”
O’Connor enjoyed a short run of appearances under former Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom last season but was listed for loan after Marcelo Bielsa’s appointment as head coach.
The 21-year-old has a further 12 months left on his contract at Elland Road.