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Squad rotation not an option it’s a necessity, says Bradford City boss Parkinson
Phil Parkinson says he is forced to chop and change the City side to prevent the players running themselves into the ground.
And he reckons that anyone who questions why he has to keep shuffling the pack “doesn’t understand football”.
The Bantams boss has come in for some flak for constantly changing the starting line-up.
He switched six names again at Plymouth in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw – their fourth stalemate in five games since Wembley.
With City struggling to make any headway on the play-off race, the lack of a consistent team has been flagged up as a contributory factor.
But Parkinson admits the sheer volume of games in this “extraordinary” campaign has given him no other choice.
He said: “People always jump on the negatives. If you change the team it’s wrong, if you don’t it’s wrong. But it’s not an option, it’s a necessity. I’m not thinking ‘should I change’ but that I have to.
“Anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand football.
“These players have played an extraordinary amount of games this season. I’ve got to back my judgement call. That’s what you have to do as a manager.
"The staff and myself always look at the situation and who we think is struggling to go into a game and where we need a bit of freshness. These players are human beings and you’ve got to understand that.”
City’s three leading scorers – Nahki Wells, James Hanson and Alan Connell – were all on the bench at Home Park. Instead, Parkinson spearheaded the side with Garry Thompson, who hit the bar, and Andy Gray.
He also left out midfield general Gary Jones – the first league game City’s skipper has missed since his back injury in October.
Parkinson added: “If we’re going to get to where we want to be – and I still think we’ve got a good chance of that – then we’re going to have to utilise the squad.
“We’ve had an extraordinary season and we need to use the full 20-man squad. The ones not in the team, like Michael Nelson and Gary Jones the other night, must do their bit on the touchline and in the dressing room to get the lads going who are playing.
“We’re all in it together. We’re all working for each other as a group.
“We’ve been five games unbeaten since the cup final, three of them on our travels against York, Port Vale and Plymouth. I know we’ve drawn four of them but it’s still a good return.
“Every game is big at this stage. Exeter away on Saturday is another one we look forward to and it’s important that everyone sticks together.”