The talk of a recall for Shay McCartan has been going on for a couple of weeks now, ever since David Hopkin spoke about him in the aftermath of our 6-2 win at Port Vale.
That might seem a long way away now, but McCartan scored arguably the pick of the bunch at Vale Park, bringing down Josh Vickers clearance before lashing past Scott Brown in the Vale goal.
Since then there’s been mutterings about his Bradford City career, whether he might be primed for a return to the club that bought him from Accrington as they struggle against relegation from League One.
The rumours of a return started nine days ago as David Hopkin spoke to press ahead of his side’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Rochdale. he was asked about the possibility of recalling McCartan after his impressive performances for the Imps.
“Every player that’s out on loan gets monitored and we get feedback,” he said of the 24-year old. “But he’s definitely one that we can look at in January. He’s on loan for the season but there’s a clause in it that we can take him back then. There’s a clause in all of them and that’s something I will be looking at. He’s doing well and scoring goals and he’s someone we could do with at the club. If he continues to do that, then he’s definitely someone we will look at in January.”
He then pointed to Michael Collins decision to loan the £200,000 man out in the first place, lamenting; “It’s difficult because Shay was on loan when I came here. I’ve never seen him. That’s not being disrespectful but he was away on loan, so it’s hard for me to comment until I actually go and physically see him in a game. But he has been doing well, which you’ve seen with his goals, and he’s technically very good.”
Whilst Hopkin might be looking at McCartan, ahead of the Colchester defeat McCartan revealed that he wasn’t hunting a return to his parent club. he didn’t say it out right, he wouldn’t be as disrespectful to do so, but he went to lengths to highlight the differences between the sides.
“I love it here, obviously Bradford’s in a rut at the minute. I’m a Lincoln player, I don’t know for how long but I want to be here, I’m loving my football here and I want to try to get promoted with Lincoln. The gaffer gives you the tools to work and improve. I think if I went to the Bradford lads and told them everything that Lincoln had, they’d be in shock, obviously Lincoln a league below.”
It seems his Bradford spell was nothing but a nightmare, despite their good start to last season. However, Stuart McCall was sacked and they spiralled away from the top six. It wasn’t something Shay enjoyed.
“I’m back to enjoying football, last year I didn’t enjoy my football. I’m back to feeling how I did at Accrington. It was hard at Bradford, since I signed it just went on to a downward spiral, everything went pear-shaped and the fans were getting on the back of owner and that led on to us and it was a negative atmosphere. I feel sorry for the lads there as they’ll be giving their all but it’s hard to everything around you is so negative to get out of that rut. Here it’s different, it’s all positive. The fans love the club and the gaffer, it’s just positive everywhere which is opposite to what I had at Bradford.”
Are we in a situation where he could be recalled before his time is up, or would Hopkin take into account the wishes of the player? Even more pertinent, will it even be David Hopkin in charge when the transfer window comes around? Since saying he’d like to take McCartan back they’ve lost three games, conceding ten goals. After the 4-0 defeat by Gillingham this weekend, Hopkin refused to speak to the media and questioned the attitude of his players.
Shay McCartan is part of a happy camp, albeit one experiencing a blip, but still top of the league and striving for success. There’s every chance the two sides could be swapping places this summer and with McCartan having been coveted by some time for Danny, will we be puling out the stops to perhaps make his move permanent in the summer?
The next two months will be vital for Shay, Danny and of course, the long-suffering Bradford City fans who deserve much better than they’re getting right now.
Personally, I can see us making a play for Shay in the winter window. Danny will have worked with him first hand for a while and his continued inclusion is an indication of how highly he is valued. I don’t think we’ve seen the best position for him yet, he’s often too far from Akinde but has still shown a drive and energy when he’s on the ball. He’s got an unpredictability about him and although he didn’t turn up against Colchester, he’s been one of our better players this season.
If Bradford do recall him it’ll be a huge loss, but given his recent comment I can’t see him being happy with a move back to Valley Parade, whether they need him or not.