FROM Wembley winner to Championship warrior, Mark Little has plenty of fond memories from his time with Bristol City.

The full-back was part of the squad which won promotion at a canter from League One, and his goal against Walsall helped the Robins lift the Football League Trophy in the same year.

So when Little looks at the league table and sees Lee Johnson’s side gunning for a play-off place, he admits to feeling a certain amount of reflected pride.

“Football is a strange game and your loyalties move about when you move clubs,” he told The Bolton News. “But 100 per cent I am happy to see what they have achieved.

“As a professional I feel I played a small part in getting them there. I was part of the team that pushed up into the Championship and helped them stay there, so I do feel a bit of pride when I see them up the top end of the table.

“Of course that ends when the whistle goes on Friday night and I give everything I have got for Bolton.”

Bristol City’s rise has been well-funded, even though the books have been balanced somewhat by some expensive departures, like Jonathan Kodjia.

Johnson and his assistant, the former Wanderers defender Dean Holden, have now assembled an enviable squad which Little believes is capable of getting promotion.

“I think before I was there they had tried to bring in big names, ready-made millionaire players but it hadn’t worked, so they went about things a bit differently and built over time.

“And I think a lot of clubs can take something from their story,” he said.

“The owner has invested gradually and built up the stadium, which is very impressive now, and they have got a good squad. We know it will be a difficult game.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before they are playing in the Premier League.”

While Bristol’s chase for the top might please Little, the defender is equally passionate about Wanderers’ survival fight. Results in midweek have put the Whites back into the relegation zone, albeit with a game in hand on the sides around them.

The picture may look better than it did in September – but with a new-look squad post-January window it remains to be seen how quickly the new blood can adapt.

“We genuinely have no idea what the team sheet will look like at this stage,” said Little, then watching the drama unfold on deadline day. “Half the team could be making a debut.

“But it’s important we get going quickly. It was disappointing to see Birmingham get a result which put us back into the bottom three but we have to keep reminding ourselves of how far we have come.

“At one stage it looked like we were going to be playing for pride at this point, we were so far adrift.

“Now there are six, seven, eight teams who are within a few points. Put a couple of results together and you could be in mid-table, and that just shows you what a crazy division this really is.

“Bristol City had a couple of bad results but seem to have bounced back again now.

“We know it will be tough but it’s at home, so it’s exciting. Anything can happen.”

Little looks set to keep his right-back berth against his former club but now has some added competition in the form of Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan.

Wanderers had been ready to send Stephen Darby out on loan on deadline day when the opportunity arose to bring the England international to the Macron.

“We had a call about Jon a few days ago when we thought one of our right-backs was going out on loan (Stephen Darby),” Parkinson said. “We thought ‘what a signing that would be.’

“The people at Burnley couldn’t speak highly enough of him as a player and a character.

“Our player didn’t go out on loan but when the hours ticked by we didn’t think we could turn down a player like that.

“He played for their Under-23s on Sunday but he will need to get up to speed. The people at Burnley said he was a real tough character and one you’ll want down at the bottom of the league. He strikes me as someone who’ll give us everything. When a player walks in who has played at the top level, the lads take notice.

“But he has got to get into the team. Mark Little has done well at right-back and we’ve got others who have played there too.”