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Bradford City: Parkin targets flying start against Gillingham
No more false starts – that’s the orders for City as they look to break the away duck at struggling Gillingham tomorrow.
The Bantams have been slow to get in their stride on the road so far, with poor first-half displays at Bristol City, Port Vale and Stevenage.
Each time, they have played far better after the break and recovered to draw two of those games.
But as they square up to a side still desperate for their first win, City cannot afford to take so long to get going again.
Assistant boss Steve Parkin is adamant that they will be at it from the first whistle.
He said: “It’s something that we will put right at the weekend.
“The good thing about us is that we never give in. The character we showed to come back in the second half proves we can play well away from home.
“But we’ve got to make sure that when the gun fires, we come roaring out of the blocks. We’ve got to come out all guns blazing and motivated to play against a team that will be wounded.
“Gillingham have had some poor results but we know they have got good players. We know their management very well and they’ll have their boys fired up.
“We’re playing against the team that won our league last season and we’ve got to hit them head on.”
Gillingham did the double over City, who failed to beat any of the sides that were promoted with them. But with Martin Allen’s men currently second from bottom, the visitors will be confident of claiming their first scalp on the road.
Parkin added: “It’s definitely time to set the record straight.
“We were a little bit unfortunate at home against Gillingham. But they were better than us, no doubt about it, in the away game at the start of last season and we deserved to get beaten.
“We are not over-concerned about our away form but we want to get an away win on the board if we can.
“We’re sat in a really healthy position after a fair amount of games but we would really like to reward our travelling supporters with three points.”
Gary Jones admitted that losing twice to Gillingham last season – particularly the 1-0 loss at Valley Parade in February – still rankled.
The City skipper said: “They came to our place and did a number on us. We had all the play that day and they scored with one shot.
“We should go there full of confidence. They’ve had a really bad start and haven’t won yet.
“If we play the way we can and force them into mistakes and errors, then their supporters will start having a negative effect.
“You can’t just bank on your home form and I think an away win’s just around the corner.”
Allen’s position is already coming under scrutiny just four months after winning League Two. Chairman Paul Scally issued an open letter to the fans this week urging them to play their part tomorrow.
Parkin added: “It’s a better league than last year. There’s a definite gulf – we saw that with the 20-minute spell that Colchester had last week.
“They are probably just finding it hard to find their feet at the moment. I’m sure they will. Martin has recruited but, similar to us, he is probably playing the same team that got them promoted last year.
“Our players are well aware what to expect. It’s going to be a full-on game and we can’t be out-battled – I’m sure that won’t happen.”
Carl McHugh (groin) is the only current casualty. Mark Yeates has trained all week with no ill-effects from the stoppage-time lunge which saw Colchester’s Daniel Pappoe sent off.
Parkin answered accusations that Yeates had over-reacted at the time to force the referee’s hand.
“His reaction wasn’t to get their player sent off because he was going to get sent off anyway.
“I think it just took him by shock because the whistle had gone.
“He dropped his guard and the lad caught him.”
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