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Bradford City players told: Phil your boots on big occasion
Phil Parkinson will send City into derby battle with Sheffield United tomorrow with the orders: Savour the big stage.
It is ten years since the Blades last came to Valley Parade and he wants the home side to make the most of the occasion.
Parkinson, who will make late checks on James Hanson and Mark Yeates, is hoping that City’s continuity from last season can make the difference against a team in transition.
While he has kept the promoted squad virtually intact, United have seen plenty of change through a summer which saw their budget drastically reduced and David Weir’s appointment at the helm.
Parkinson said: “We’ve worked really hard to get into this division and we’ve got to enjoy every single challenge that will be thrown at us.
“We’re seeing different players, different teams and stadiums and we must enjoy it. And there’s no better challenge than Sheffield United at home.
“It’s a fixture you quickly scanned down the list to find. Sheffield United are a team that have done well at this level over the last couple of years and it’s a Yorkshire derby.
“These are two tremendous clubs with good histories and I’m sure it’s going to be a cracking atmosphere.
“Obviously the (Sheffield United) manager is trying to change the way they play and has brought in a lot of new players.
“We’ve got to make sure our rhythm of playing as a team who have been together for a while gives us an advantage tomorrow.
“People talk about different systems and get wrapped up in new-fangled formations but often it’s just a slight adaption of what we already know.
“I don’t think Sheffield are going to offer anything new that we’ve never seen before.”
Parkinson wants to see cool heads in front of the biggest league crowd of his two-year tenure at the club. The Blades have sold out their near-3,000 ticket allocation.
“The lads have been excellent this week and this is a game they will relish.
“We always demand the effort, commitment and desire but we’ve got to do it with a calmness on the ball as well. We’ve got good footballers who can pass the ball and we need to get both of those sides together in the game.
“In the big atmospheres, the adrenaline is pumping round your body. But we must stay nice and calm as well.”
Premier League referee Chris Foy has been drafted in but Parkinson has been happy with the standard of officiating so far.
He said: “I thought Carl Boyeson was excellent last week and handled the game really well.”
Meanwhile, Slovenian international Haris Vuckic is back with Newcastle for the weekend and could be involved in their squad for the Capital One Cup tie with Morecambe on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old forward spent a few days training with City and played in a private friendly against Accrington.
Parkinson hinted that they may “revisit” the possibility of a loan next week but the Blades showdown is his only focus for now.
Nahki Wells will set a club record if he scores for the eighth game in a row. Sheffield United are well aware of his goal threat but boss David Weir insists the hosts carry other threats.
Weir said: “He’s a good player but one player doesn’t make a team – and he’s not the only good player they’ve got there either.
“Bradford did ever so well last season and got promoted, which I’m sure was their aim. Doing that also bust a few myths about runs in the cup affecting your league campaign.
“I don’t know Phil that well but I’ve bumped into him a few times on the football circuit. Clearly he’s doing a very good job.”
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