Now we can enjoy our big night against Arsenal, says Bantams boss Parkinson (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Now we can enjoy our big night against Arsenal, says Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson watched City strengthen their position among the promotion front-runners and then declared: Bring on the Arsenal!
The Bantams will go into tomorrow’s Capital One Cup quarter-final with Arsene Wenger’s men in buoyant mood after beating ten-man Torquay 1-0.
Substitute Alan Connell struck a brilliant 85th-minute winner to finally end the visitors’ stubborn resistance and send City up to fourth.
Martin Ling’s side lost skipper Brian Saah to a red card in the 35th minute but they kept City at bay until Connell produced a superb strike within five minutes of his introduction.
Parkinson said: “There has been so much talk about the Arsenal game and from family members wanting tickets.
“But we’ve kept the lads focused really well and they’ve been outstanding. Now we can enjoy the Arsenal game – it’s going to be a great night for the club.
“It’s a reward for the players and staff and everyone who works so hard at the ground as well.
“We’re looking forward to it and we’ll certainly enjoy it so much more now that we got the three points.
“I think everybody in the country was looking at this game and thinking ‘it’ll be interesting to see how Bradford do with the Arsenal match looming’.
“It didn’t affect us and I didn’t really doubt that it would.”
Parkinson recalled eight first-choice players on Saturday and City were largely dominant throughout. They enjoyed a numerical advantage for 55 minutes after Saah was sent off for elbowing James Meredith off the ball before their patience was rewarded through Connell’s late strike.
Parkinson added: “It was a very good display but you wonder when the goal was going to come. But the lads were so patient and disciplined with the way they went about their job.
“We made positive substitutions to try and get the win and it came in the end.
“We said at half-time we had to keep passing it, stay patient and keep cool.
“I thought the crowd helped us because they understood what was going on and didn’t get frustrated that we hadn’t scored.
“They stayed right with us and I really felt they played their part.”
Torquay looked set to escape with a point after twice being saved by the woodwork and goalkeeper Michael Poke’s string of fine saves.
But Connell replaced Carl McHugh with five minutes remaining and hit a brilliant rising shot which flew into the top corner from 20 yards.
“Alan needed that,” said Parkinson, who reported no new injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
“If you go back to Port Vale on Tuesday night he was absolutely tremendous.
“But strikers need to score and what a great finish that was.”
City’s appeal against being kicked out of the FA Cup will be heard today.
Meanwhile, the Bantams will travel to Crewe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy northern semi-finals.
The tie will be played at Gresty Road in the week commencing January 7.