City are raring to get Wembley out of their system tonight as Phil Parkinson announced: A new season starts here.
The Bantams come back to earth after Sunday’s Capital One Cup final with a Valley Parade clash against Dagenham, looking to revive their promotion ambitions.
Parkinson is confident there will be no hangover from the 5-0 thrashing by Swansea as they chase a first home win in League Two since Boxing Day.
He plans to freshen up the side following the chastening experience at the hands of the Swans. But loan defender Ryan Dickson is out of his plans after being told he needs an ankle operation that will keep him out for the rest of the campaign.
Parkinson contacted his parent club Southampton with the grim news yesterday after a routine medical check showed Dickson’s ankle injury was far worse than anyone thought.
Parkinson said: “Ryan saw the specialist on Monday with what we thought was a minor problem. Then he was hit with the hammer blow that he needs an operation.
“He could have tried to play on and put it back. But he’s out of contract in four months so it is better for him to get it done sooner rather than later.”
Dickson, who had travelled to Wembley but was not named in the squad, only arrived in the January transfer window after James Meredith was struck down with glandular fever. The left back made six appearances and scored at Fleetwood.
He joins the curse of City defenders that has also claimed Luke Oliver, Andrew Davies and John Egan, who broke his leg while on loan from Sunderland.
Despite the latest injury setback, Parkinson believes the Bantams pack more than enough power in the squad to have a real go in the hectic final two months. With games in hand on the teams above, they are hungry to bridge an eight-point gap to the top seven.
He said: “We’ve got a 15-game season ahead of us. There are a lot coming thick and fast from now until the end but we’ve been used to that. We’ve also got players like Andrew Davies, Michael Nelson and Andy Gray who’ve not played lots of football. They are chomping at the bit to be involved.
“So it’s not all of them that have played lots of games. Quite a few have got plenty of mileage in the tank.
“We’ve got fresh players to go with those in the squad who have been used to playing regularly.”
Parkinson detected an upbeat mood at Apperley Bridge when the players returned to the normal training routine after the hype and excitement of the past week.
“The lads are fine,” he said. “Of course, there’s an element of disappointment because we’ve lost a cup final and you can’t hide away from that.
“But we came up against an outstanding team on the day. We could have played better but it was a massive ask for us.
“We had a good night with our families on Sunday, which was important, and had a light session down there on Monday before leaving.
“The players were back in yesterday and ready to go to work. Everything is aimed towards the Dagenham game.
“We’ve got to be focused on what we’ve got to do. It’s taken me until February 27 to be able to say that we can concentrate on the league – that’s unprecedented at this level.”