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Buzzing Bradford City told to hit same heights by Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson has told City they have to keep up the gold standard for tomorrow’s reunion with Port Vale.
There was nothing to choose from three meetings between the promotion partners last term. Tom Pope’s goal – one of his 33 in the league – sealed a smash and grab Vale win at Valley Parade before the Bantams claimed JPT revenge in the Potteries.
Their last clash at Vale Park in March ended in a goalless draw, though again the visitors were the team on top.
City are buzzing after demolishing Carlisle and Parkinson stressed to his squad yesterday that they must hit the same levels.
He said: “It was an emphatic win for us and I don’t want to take anything away from the performance.
“It could have been even more because we had so many good chances.
“But we’ve got to do exactly the same again. We have talked to the players about key parts of that game where we felt we did well and how we need to reproduce that.”
Not surprisingly, the team will remain unchanged for the third week running in the league. City will also have a good idea what to expect from their hosts.
Pope, the leading marksman in the country last year, and new strike partner Gavin Tomlin – who netted 16 for Southend – are both still waiting to get off the mark.
But Parkinson is braced for a reaction after strong criticism from Vale boss Micky Adams following their loss at Colchester.
Adams has hinted there might be changes, with Lee Hughes and Ben Williamson pressuring the front pair for a starting role.
The City chief added: “They are searching for the first win and Micky’s been talking about the team lacking enthusiasm last week. We know he’ll be getting back to a hard-working performance and we’ve got to expect that.
“Equally if we can start well ourselves and play in the manner we have done, we can cause Port Vale problems and be the team in the ascendancy.
“We know a lot about them and it’s the same with us. There aren’t too many surprises with either side.
“They had a great season last year. We know it’s going to be very competitive – it always is when we come up against Micky’s teams and I’d to think he feels the same.
“It’s a big wide pitch and our job is to make it really difficult for them. I’m confident we can do that.”
Vale Park’s extra dimensions will put the focus on the wingers – and those marking them.
Right back Stephen Darby said: “It’s going to mean a lot of hard work! But whenever you go away from home, you expect that.
“We’ve seen a lot of them last season and we know to expect a tough game but one we’re looking forward to.
“It’s about doing the basics right. We’ve picked up four points from the first two games so we can take confidence from that.
“It’s a good opportunity for us but first and foremost we have to win the battle.
“We’ve been playing at a really high tempo and we’ll be looking for more of the same.”
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