Midfielder eyes first-team slot
AGGRESSIVE midfielder Adnan Ahmed returned for pre-season training with a one-year contract in his pocket and a specific target in his mind.
The Burnley-based player, who was 20 last month, has already become the first man of Asian descent to play at League level for the McAlpine club.
Manager Peter Jackson, however, now wants Ahmed to follow in the footsteps of Andy Holdsworth, Anthony Lloyd and the rest to become another Academy produced regular at first-team level.
"Adnan is a very popular lad in the club and he now needs a good pre-season under his belt and some consistent early-season performances," said Jackson.
"You always have to set targets for yourself and Adnan knows this is a big year for him and one where he needs to press for a major breakthrough in the first team.
"He had a taste of League action last season at Rochdale but then suffered some injury problems later on and ended up having a hernia operation.
"He bounced back quickly from that, though, and will now be looking to make even further progress because he's definitely got some talent and deserves the opportunity to develop it."
Jackson believes consistency is the key for Ahmed, who was once on the books at Manchester United and whose work ethic is second to none.
"Adnan has been doing some work all through our break and his attitude is tremendous," said the manager.
"None of the lads like playing against him in the five-a-sides because he kicks everything that moves.
"Whether it's in training or in matches, he doesn't know the meaning of pulling out of a tackle and it's a terrific commitment.
Ahmed will be hoping to get a run-out straight away when Town play their first pre-season friendly against UniBond League Wakefield and Emley at the Welfare Ground next Monday, July 12.
Further opportunities could well follow away to Ossett Town (July 19), Bradford Park Avenue (21), Harrogate Town (24), Rotherham (27), Farsley (28), Macclesfield (31) and Guiseley (3).