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Phil Parkinson in rallying cry to cure Bradford City home sickness
Phil Parkinson wants City to raise the bar and the roof tomorrow to make Valley Parade a place where opponents fear to tread once again.
The Bantams aim to wipe out a four-game home drought with victory over Aldershot and continue the momentum for a play-off push.
After two good away results, Parkinson is determined they convert that into the home form that typified the first half of the season. City have taken only one point on their own soil since Boxing Day.
Nineteenth-placed Aldershot are unbeaten since Andy Scott took over in the scrap for survival at the bottom. But Parkinson is not in the mood for any excuses.
The City chief said: “Teams may well raise their game when they come here because of the surroundings. They might look at our cup exploits and raise their game again.
“But we’ve got to overcome that. We’ve got to go another step above and beyond that in my eyes.
“Expect it, don’t moan about it, rise above it.
“We’ve got to go back to the start of the season and back end of last year when we made Valley Parade a difficult place to play.”
City boasted the best home record in the division up to Christmas. But Rochdale, Oxford and leaders Gillingham have all since won at Valley Parade before last week’s draw with Dagenham.
Parkinson admitted: “We’ve lost our way a bit.
“At this stage of the season, the staff who sit down and work out how we can get more out of each individual player ultimately go on to be the most successful. We’re trying to do that.
“It’s the same with the team as a whole. Everyone has to understand what’s required – just enough is not enough.
“We need to be right on it and get the crowd to make it a really vociferous atmosphere. We want everybody out their seats appealing every decision and cheering every run and tackle that the players make.
“We have to make sure that every player runs themselves into the ground and shows that incredible desire which we’ve done in the last two games on our travels because we need that at home.”
Parkinson has also assured Alan Connell that he will have his part to play in the run-in.
Connell has found himself the odd one out as the City boss rotates his strikers. Garry Thompson replaced Nahki Wells at Port Vale and Andy Gray has also been used to give James Hanson a breather in the targetman role.
But Connell, Swindon’s top-scorer in their title win last season, has made only two sub appearances in the nine games since his last start against Crewe in the JPT. He did not come off the bench at either York or Vale.
Parkinson said: “Al’s probably been a bit unlucky but it could be his turn now until the end of the season. I’m sure he’ll have his moments.
“He came on last week against Dagenham and I thought he looked really bright. He’s kept his spirit going and his attitude right.
“Hanson and Wells have got 28 goals between them which isn’t a bad return. Obviously we brought Andy (Gray) in to give us that hold-up strength and him and Thommo have had a good spell.
“Andy hasn’t scored but Thommo has and I firmly believe it will come for Andy. Combinations are important with strikers and Alan has ended up outside of that but he will get a chance.
“Alan’s worked hard, he’s training well and he’s been fine. I’m sure he will be an asset for the rest of the season.”