Bradford City: Crucial we take one game at a time, says Parkinson (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City: Crucial we take one game at a time, says Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson believes City can be a match for second-placed Port Vale tonight but insists it will not make or break their season.
The Bantams could make real inroads in the top half of League Two if they can follow up Saturday’s win over York with another on the road at Vale Park.
City won there three months ago in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and face a stuttering Vale side who have lost the last two home games.
With 13 to go, the onus is on the visitors to build momentum if they hope to haul in the leading pack – but Parkinson refuses to look beyond the immediate challenge of Micky Adams’ men.
He said: “It’s dangerous to do that at this stage. Everyone else is talking about how many points we need but it’s important to keep concentrating on the next game, and that’s all we’re doing.
“We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us and we’re prepared for it. But the Port Vale game will not determine anything, apart from three points tonight.
“We’ve had an incredible season in terms of the magnitude of some of the games and we’ve fallen behind because of that. We’ve got games in hand and we have to try and rectify that and will do everything we can.”
More changes are planned but Jon McLaughlin will stay in goal after his Bootham Crescent clean sheet. Parkinson has praised the confident way he has grabbed the chance after Matt Duke’s Wembley red card.
The City boss added: “I’ve got to be fair. Jon has trained very well waiting for his chance and has backed Dukey up during the last run of games.
“I told Jon to put in a good performance before Dagenham and he would keep his place and he did that. He played well again on Saturday.
“It’s a bit of a reward for Jon’s attitude while he’s been out the team as well. I just felt that if he didn’t play against York it would be tough for him and his motivation might have suffered.
“We’ve got two good keepers and they are both fighting for the shirt. It was the right call for Jon to stay in at York and he backed that.”
Vale, who will include former Parkinson target Anthony Griffith in midfield after re-signing him on loan from Leyton Orient, remain three points off leaders Gillingham despite their current dip.
But after two close encounters so far this season, Parkinson reckons the sides are fairly evenly matched.
He said: “Mick’s done a good job there after putting a squad together in the summer in difficult circumstances. Obviously the goals that (league top scorer) Tom Pope has got have been hugely beneficial.
“They are very attack-minded and open and the big pitch suits the way they play.
“They’ve beaten us at home and we’ve already won there, albeit in the JPT, so it’s closer between the teams than the league position suggests.
“We’d love to be up where they are and maybe they’d love to have earned the money we have from the cup final.
“In football you can’t have everything but we’ve got to strive to get as close to them as possible.
“The mood in the camp is good after a great victory on Saturday. It’s always good to win a derby and we’ll take that into tonight.”