Phil Parkinson awards full marks to his Bradford City players for passing endurance test (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City players show great fortytude!
Phil Parkinson cannot believe how City’s marathon men can keep going after an “unprecedented” schedule.
The weekend freeze allowed a much-needed breather after the trip to Port Vale was an early victim of the winter blast.
City still trained on Saturday as they build up for tomorrow’s potential date with destiny in the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Aston Villa.
But the postponement – their second this season – was welcome news for the club who have played more games than anyone else.
Last week’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat at Crewe was their 40th game of the season – it is usually the middle of March by the time they have played that many.
There have been only three times in the previous 25 years when City hit the 40 mark in February – the last in 2006 when Colin Todd’s side drew 1-1 at Swansea. So to reach that landmark by mid-January is unheard of.
Parkinson admitted: “It’s an unprecedented season with the amount of games we’ve played. That’s why the lads deserve so much credit to keep going week in, week out.
"It’s difficult mentally as much as physically. Don’t forget three of those games will have been the biggest ones many of these players have played in their lives.
“You look at some of the youngsters like Carl McHugh, Stephen Darby and Nahki Wells and the way they have conducted themselves through this period has been outstanding.
"We haven’t won every week and we’ve dropped down the league a little bit but we’ll get back there.
“They’ve given us everything and that’s why we’ve brought a couple of new players in and are trying to get one or two more just to help the existing ones we’ve got.
“They need a boost and we’ll certainly do everything we can to give them it.”
It has been just as relentless for Parkinson and his coaching staff. But he would not swap the excitement and insists there is plenty more to come yet.
Parkinson added: “Some times as a manager you need time to go away and reflect and I’ve not had that, apart from on the motorway!
“But it’s been great. You look at this time last year and where we are now. We’re in the semi-final of a major cup competition and still in a challenging position in the league. There’s so much to play for, no matter what happens against Villa tomorrow.
“We want to really push on and the lads we’re bringing in, Andy Gray, Ryan Dickson and Michael Nelson, are buying in to what we want to do.”