Teenage defender Jack Ellis agreed his first two-year deal at the end of January – a deal which kicks in when the second year of his scholarship programme comes to a close at the end of June.
His efforts this season had already earned him a place on the bench for three games – one each in the Papa John’s, the FA Cup and the league – and for manager Pau Simpson this was the next natural step in his progression as he prepares to join the first-team ranks full-time.
“My thinking was that he thoroughly deserved his chance,” the manager explained. “He’s trained really well throughout my time here and I wanted forward thinking players, so I felt with Joe in midfield we’ve have a bit more of that with him and Brennan Dickenson in there.
“The toss up then, and it was maybe a bit harsh on Kelvin Mellor that he didn’t get the nod, but I just thought that it was a really good opportunity, especially when I found out he hadn’t made his debut yet.
“I felt it was a great opportunity to go and blood him. You never know what they’re going to do until you throw them in there, but he did really well. It was a strong, positive debut and I’m really pleased for him.”
And Ellis became the latest in a line of local lads – he hails from the Kendal area – to have made it through to the professional environment.
“I think everybody likes to see young players coming through,” he agreed. “He really has deserved to be given a chance, and we’ll now make a decision on whether or not he gets another one at Bradford.
“He certainly hasn’t done himself any harm because it was a really strong debut for him. I didn’t make the final decision until after training on Thursday.
“I wanted to see what they were like. We did sort of a training session where it was mixed sides, so nobody knew what the team was going to be.
“I asked Jacob to film training, when I went and watched it I thought do you know what, he deserves an opportunity, because he's been really consistent in the way he trains. He’s just got on with it, he’s got a really level head, he seems a really calm sort of personality.
“To go in there, in a game, and I get it, that people say there’s nothing at stake, but there is. When you’re in professional football there is always something at stake.
“You’re playing to perform in front of people, supporters who’ve paid money to come in. I know there’s nothing worse than not playing well.
“You’ve got to go and perform, show people what you’re about, and hopefully Jack’s done that. He’s enjoyed it and I hope he keeps his feet on the ground.”
On when the player was told he’d be playing, he explained: “He only found out on Friday.
“I didn’t even speak to him, I just put the slide up with the team when I went through Stevenage, and he saw his name. I didn’t see whether he turned white with it.
“I just said you’ve earned it, you’ve earned that opportunity. Like I say, it’s maybe a little bit harsh on Kelvin, but it was one or the other.
“I thought go on, let’s chuck him in there and see what he can do. You only find out once you throw them in.
“He could easily have gone under, but he certainly didn’t, and it was only because he was getting a little bit tight in his hamstrings that I took him off towards the end. He can be pleased.”