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Omari Patrick is another young talent knocking on the door of the Bradford City first team this season. As a versatile attacking player, Patrick possesses considerable pace, determination, and a confidence to strike a ball from distance.
Despite being on the edges of the Bradford City first team this season, Patrick’s development as a young player could be described as somewhat of an unconventional one. Born in Slough, Berkshire, Patrick spent most of his youth career at the FAB Academy in Buckinghamshire.
Following his time at the FAB Academy, Patrick joined Kidderminster Harriers for the 2015-16 season who were playing in the National League at the time. Patrick went on to made 18 first team appearances across the season without being able to grab his first career goal.
Despite the offer of a new contract from Kidderminster, Patrick opted for a move up to South Yorkshire to play for Championship club Barnsley. It was here where Patrick was first exposed to development football at a professional level.
Patrick’s time at Barnsley only lasted a year, however, when he decided to sign for fellow Yorkshire club, Bradford City, on an initial one-year professional deal in preparation for the 2017-18 season. Signed alongside fellow young professionals, Tyrell Robinson and Callum Gunner, Patrick was initially placed in the development squad.
After impressing in pre-season, Patrick was handed his first start in professional football at the beginning of the 2017-18 season against newly promoted Blackpool. Just when things could not get any better for Patrick, he also scored his first ever professional goal for the club during the game which also proved to be the winner.
Patrick grabbed his second professional league goal after a delightful strike from outside of the box against Oxford, while also scoring another goal in the EFL Trophy against Chesterfield, bringing his current goal tally to three in all competitions. Patrick’s impressive start to his Bradford City career was duly awarded with a new three-year contract at the club.
Strengths & Weaknesses
One of the first things you notice about Patrick is that he is always smiling, which shows how much he is enjoying his experience of professional football so far. When on the pitch, the aspect of his game which stands out is his sheer pace which causes serious problems for the opposition defence.
Patrick is also very versatile in attack and so can be utilised in all positions across the forward line. Underpinning this is his willingness to shoot from distance, which is personified by the three goals he has scored so far for Bradford City.
Physically, Patrick stands over six foot and so has a level of strength in his game which only adds to his potential of becoming an established professional striker. Playing with fellow established professionals on a daily basis will only help in building this strength further and improving his overall game.
However, like with every other young player aiming to make a breakthrough in professional football, there are several aspects in which Patrick could strengthen in his game. The first of these is being able to beat players more consistently in attacking positions. When facing opposition defenders one-on-one, Patrick tends to sometimes lose the ball in important attacking situations. Yet, this is something that can be improved upon through frequent exposure to first team football and additional work in training.
Arguably Patrick’s biggest issue at the moment is adding consistency to his game. Despite a flying start to his Bradford City career, Patrick has more recently struggled to put together consistent performances which have resulted in limited playing opportunities in the first team, with several other players currently on form as well.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that Patrick is considered to be slightly behind in his development given this is the first time in his career that he has played professional football, despite being aged 21.
Again, as Patrick is still very much early on in his development, consistency is something he will learn with more exposure to first team football. At 21, Patrick is now at a crucial stage of his development and so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back in the coming months.
Yet, having signed a new long-term contract, he also has time on his side which should help reduce the pressure on him. One thing is for sure; however, Patrick has been warmly received by the Bradford City faithful, which bodes particularly well for a young player relatively new to professional club football.
What They Say
Bobby Hassell – Head of Academy Recruitment, Barnsley
“He’s quick and strong so he will be a dangerous asset in our attacking play. He is also very hard working off the ball, which is a very important and a valuable skill to have.”
Greg Abbott – Head of Recruitment, Bradford City
“He’s lightning quick, runs in behind and is good with both feet.”
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