FULL-BACK Tom Clarke appears to be making a sensational recovery and could yet feature in his first Town-Bradford derby.
That was the unexpected news from manager Peter Jackson today as Town continued their build-up to Saturday's clash at Valley Parade.
It seemed Clarke would be out for several weeks after being carried off against Oldham and, even as late as yesterday, Town were booking in the 17-year-old for an ultrasound scan.
The last 24 hours, however, have brought a remarkable turnaround and manager Peter Jackson, whose club have been allocated a further 574 tickets for the game, explained:
"Tom is feeling miles better than he was and, if he carries on responding like this, he's got a chance of making the derby game.
"It's been a really strange injury. First we thought it was a break, then a muscle tear, but the way things are now panning out we're wondering if it was just a trapped nerve.
"We'll have to see what happens over the next couple of days, but this is really encouraging and, hopefully, Tom will join Adnan Ahmed and Michael Collins in looking forward to a first derby."
Jackson, who has an unbeaten record at Valley Parade as Town manager, will have no qualms about throwing in his young squad members against Colin Todd's side, who have also slipped from the play-off race since their 1-0 win at the Galpharm Stadium in December and are 11th in the table.
"It will be a massive occasion for everybody, not just the young lads," said Jackson, who was watching the Reserves in Pontin's League action against Notts County at the Galpharm today (2.00).
"All I'll be saying to the lads is `go out and enjoy it.'
"To play in big matches like this is why we drove ourselves to win promotion last season and, when the fixture list came out, I think everyone was looking for when we played Bradford home and away.
"We were disappointing at home, so it's important now that we put that right with a win on Saturday."
Town's total ticket allocation has now risen to 4,737 and Jackson hopes most of those will sell.
"We are going to have well over 4,000 fans at the game and that will be brilliant for us," added Jackson, who put his players through a gruelling gym-bike session at the Galpharm yesterday.
"I am expecting a very hostile reception personally from the home fans, but it will give us all a massive lift to see our sections packed."
Jackson confirmed there have been no inquiries so far for midfielder Lee Fowler, who has been transfer listed by mutual consent.