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Ex-U21 international defender joins the Irish contingent at Bradford City

Niall Canavan has signed an 18-month deal after the Bantams paid an undisclosed fee to Plymouth Argyle.

Bradford City unveiled Niall Canavan this afternoon.
Bradford City unveiled Niall Canavan this afternoon.
Image: Bradford City AFC

FORMER REPUBLIC OF Ireland U21 international Niall Canavan is one of the latest players to complete a move during the January transfer window.

Canavan has joined Bradford City today after the League Two club paid an undisclosed fee to Plymouth Argyle to sign the central defender on an 18-month deal.

He’ll provide competition for former Limerick defender Paudie O’Connor and fellow ex-U21 international Anthony O’Connor, who have formed the Bantams’ centre-back pairing this season.

Billy Clarke, another man with Irish U21 caps, and 19-year-old Ireland youth international Reece Staunton also ply their trade at Valley Parade.

Canavan, who was born in Leeds, is returning to Bradford, having been in the club’s academy before starting his professional career at Scunthorpe United, for whom he made his first-team debut in the Championship in 2009.

“I am delighted to be here,” the 29-year-old said. “I have always wanted to play for this club and it is a great chance for me to come home.

“I grew up watching Bradford City and have always had that ambition to be one of the lads who runs out at Valley Parade. I was in the academy as a young lad and used to come here a lot as a ballboy.

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niall-canavan-and-matteo-destro Canavan tangling with Italy's Matteo Destro during a qualifier for the 2013 U21 European Championship. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

“As soon as the call came in, I was very eager to get the deal done and, thankfully, we have been able to get everything sorted. This is a brilliant club and I am looking forward to pushing on.”

During his two-and-a-half-year spell in Plymouth, Canavan made 92 appearances and helped the club to achieve promotion to League One last season.

He was a member of an Ireland U21 side that include current senior internationals such as Shane Duffy, Robbie Brady, John Egan and Jeff Hendrick.

Bradford narrowly missed out on a play-off place last season, but their struggles during the current campaign led to the sacking of manager Stuart McCall last month.

Currently sitting in 19th place, they’re undefeated in the five games played since Mark Trueman and Connor Sellars succeeded McCall on a caretaker basis.

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Paul Dollery

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