FORMER Swindon Town academy player Callum Gunner has signed a professional deal with League One play-off finalists Bradford City.

The 18-year-old, who never featured for Town’s first team but made the bench in their Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Luton Town, has penned a one-year deal with the Bantams.

The central midfielder, who featured heavily in Alan McLoughlin’s U18 side, as well as a handful of development games in the past season, impressed at Bradford when playing for them in their final Central League fixture of the season back in April, scoring the opening goal in a 3-0 win over Wrexham.

The Chippenham-born youngster did not do enough to earn a professional deal at Swindon but has been snapped up at Valley Parade alongside fellow youngsters Tyrell Robinson and Omari Patrick to the delight of City’s head of recruitment Greg Abbott.

"Everyone is understandably excited about the forthcoming trip to Wembley (in the League One Play-Off Final) but my job is also to look towards next season as well,” Abbott told the club’s website.

"We have two types of signings - ones that are ready to go in and strengthen the first team straight-away, and young ones that we can bring in, develop, and eventually get into the first team.

"The way the loan system is at the moment, you have to take a player in for at least half a season. That isn't ideal, we would prefer to bring our own young players in and develop them.

"Going down this route, it means we have players ready to go into Stuart's (McCall) first team when needed, rather than bringing in a loan player that we perhaps don't know as much about.

"The three players we have in today (Wednesday), Omari - an attacker - Callum - a box-to-box midfielder - and Tyrell - a really quick attacking defender/winger - all fit into that preferred category, as does Dan Pybus, who we have re-signed for next season.

"Add the likes of Jacob Hanson and Ellis Hudson to that group, we now have a selection of really exciting 18 to 20 year-olds who will hopefully stop us having to use the loan market as much in future."