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Wolves don't scare us, says Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson insists that reputations will count for nothing when City lock horns with Wolves at Valley Parade.
The fallen Molineux giants are tipped to romp League One with their huge financial resources – and have started the campaign strongly. But Parkinson is confident his team can more than match the West Midlands big guns, especially on home turf.
He must also decide whether to throw Nahki Wells into the melting pot for City’s most anticipated game of the season so far.
The nine-goal top scorer has been sidelined for the last four games with ankle ligament damage but has been training this week.
Parkinson said: “He trained well yesterday and we’ll see. We’ve got to make sure he’s right.”
Wolves have lost only once and are unbeaten away from Molineux, winning the last four on the road.
But with City going well in fifth, Parkinson sees no reason to be put off by their illustrious opposition.
“Two years ago there was a three-division difference between the clubs. That shows you how quickly football can change.
“We’re in the same league now. They are a big club at this level, and like with Preston, this is one of those games we’ve worked so hard to reach.
“We will not be fazed by the name Wolverhampton Wanderers. We’re playing the players, not the name of the club – Bradford City are a big club.”
After successive relegations, Wolves are still entitled for parachute payments from the Premier League – their bid to bounce straight back up has been swelled by a massive £16m sweetener.
It is that serious spending muscle which has allowed them to hang on to the likes of Kevin Doyle and French winger Bakary Sako.
Parkinson added: “They are miles ahead of anyone in the division because of the parachute money they are still getting. Nobody can compete with them.
“That adds to the challenge. Kenny (Jackett) has already shown that he’s got the resources to keep getting players.
“But with that comes expectancy and pressure. You’d never say anyone would walk the division but obviously they are strong favourites.
“We’ve taken on some big names in the past at Valley Parade and given them good games. We’ve got to make sure we do the same tomorrow.
“If we can take the same work ethic we showed against Preston on Tuesday, then we’ll give them a test. I’m looking for that same determination and commitment and competitive edge to our game.
“They’ve got some threatening players like Doyle, (Leigh) Griffiths and Sako and you’d expect that with the resources. But we’ve got some dangerous players ourselves.
“We’ll give them the utmost respect because they deserve it. But equally I’m sure Kenny has watched our DVDs and will be concerned at the impact one or two of ours can have on a game.”
City have no fresh worries but Wolves are missing hamstring victim Matt Doherty, arguably their player of the season so far.
The marauding right back, a Republic of Ireland under-21 team-mate of Carl McHugh, will be replaced by Richard Stearman.
He must put the brakes on Kyel Reid, who burst back to form with a sensational midweek display.
Reid had a brief loan spell at Wolves from West Ham in 2009 – and scored the goal at Barnsley that won them the Championship title that season in front of 6,000 away fans. It was his only goal in eight appearances.
Wolves keeper Carl Akeme also had a short time under Parkinson on loan for Colchester.
Parkinson said: “I thought he was a good keeper but he’d had too many loan moves and needed to nail down a first-team place. He seems to have got that now and he’s got all the tools.”
City stopper Jon McLaughlin earned praise for his close-range save to deny Preston winger Chris Humphrey during Tuesday’s 2-2 draw. It was the latest in a string of key saves from the ever-present keeper.
Parkinson added: “I thought that was one of his best games. He’s got to keep striving to be the best. That’s what I tell Jon all the time. Never rest in football and think you’ve cracked it.”
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