Phil Parkinson insists City’s squad is strong enough for the battle ahead despite missing out on Rochdale midfielder Jason Kennedy.
Parkinson had hoped to add Kennedy to the influx of Dale old boys at Valley Parade before the transfer window shut last night. But after several on-off negotiations, the plug was suddenly pulled an hour before the 11pm deadline.
One player did leave City as Ritchie Jones agreed to cancel his contract six months early. The last survivor of Peter Jackson’s signings has been on the fringes of Parkinson’s squad this season.
With the late disappointment of Kennedy’s non-deal, City could not add to the three players they had already signed during the January window.
But Parkinson believes he has the resources in place to cope as they resume the two-pronged push for promotion and the Capital One Cup final.
And City, like any lower-division club, can still dip into the emergency loan market when that re-opens from next Friday.
Parkinson, looking forward to the first league action in three weeks tomorrow, said: “We didn’t want to do anything for the sake of it. We’ve just got Michael Nelson, Andrew Davies is going to be back in three to four weeks and everybody’s looking good.
“We’ve got a decent squad. At the moment someone’s going to have to be very good to knock someone else out the team.
“There’s a good spirit in the group and we’ve already got strong competition. Those who haven’t been playing are chomping at the bit to play.”
Midfielder Jones played 48 times for City but has only made ten appearances this season. Accrington are believed to be keen on snapping him up.
“Ritchie had a very big part to play last season in helping us stay in the league,” said City joint-chairman Julian Rhodes. “I remember in particular those games over the Christmas period when he did very well.
“Unfortunately it didn’t work out for him this season and I hope he has better luck at his next club.”
City are back at Apperley Bridge today after the short training break in Tenerife as they prepare for a first ever trip to Fleetwood. After all the cup exploits, it is their first League Two game since January 12.
The Bantams had picked up only one point from the last four outings but Parkinson is confident the brief getaway to the Canary Islands has recharged the batteries at just the right time.
“It was a good break. The weather was great over there and it was important to get the lads together for a few days.
“We did some good training but we also had a bit of time to relax.
“The lads feel as though they’ve had a good break and it’s kind of drawn a line under the Aston Villa game.
“Obviously we are going to get a lot of attention in a couple of weeks (before the final) so this break was just what we needed.”
Fleetwood made five January signings, including striker Jamille Matt from Kidderminster for a club record thought to be around £300,000. Matt scored on his debut last week in the 3-0 win over Oxford.
Parkinson said: “They are the big spenders in the league and have acquitted themselves well after coming up a division. But we’ll go there confident and looking forward to getting playing again.”
Defender Ryan Dickson has recovered from the tight thigh that forced him to miss the Villa second leg. Curtis Good is also expected to be fine after struggling with a sore throat while the club were away.
Good and Blair Turgott’s loans will both be extended by a further month after the weekend, keeping the two teenagers involved for Wembley.
Parkinson said: “Youth loans are different to normal ones and can keep being done on a month-by-month basis so you’re under no pressure. They’ve both come in and done well for us so far.”
Meanwhile, Leicester’s Kevin Friend has been confirmed as the referee for the Capital One Cup final.
* City’s game at home to Rotherham has been re-arranged for Tuesday, April 16. The original date for the match clashes with the Capital One Cup final weekend.