Clean sheet sets up Bradford City for FA Cup battle with Millers (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Clean sheet sets up Bradford City for FA Cup battle with Millers
Rory McArdle believes City have rediscovered their defensive steel as they gear up for an FA Cup showdown with bitter rivals Rotherham.
After four games without a clean sheet and no victory, the Bantams at least stopped the rot in one of those departments during the goalless League One draw at Crewe.
McArdle enjoyed an outstanding game and believes Phil Parkinson’s men can use the hard-earned point, which kept City in the top six, as a platform to start winning again.
The Northern Ireland defender said: “I thought we were solid from the first minute to the last.
“Matthew Bates has come in and we have struck up a good partnership. He’s played at the highest level and I enjoyed playing with him.
“We just couldn’t quite create that bit of magic at the other end of the pitch that might have given us a 1-0 win.”
Parkinson’s troops will today begin preparations for Saturday’s trip to Rotherham and a reunion with old enemy Steve Evans.
The Millers manager guided the South Yorkshire club to automatic promotion last season, when they twice beat the Bantams.
Evans made a vicious jibe towards City in April when he claimed they would not reach the play-offs and that Parkinson would not be at Valley Parade this season. There is certainly no love lost between Bradford and the former Crawley boss.
McArdle said: “It’s important that we got something at Crewe heading into the FA Cup tie at Rotherham.
“As we showed last season, if you can get a good cup run going alongside your league form, it brings a bit of confidence.
“I’m sure it will be near enough a full house at Rotherham and that we will take a big following down there.
“Why are these games against Rotherham so spicy? If you speak to the fans, they might say it’s on the back of Steve Evans and his exploits at Crawley.
“Rotherham is only 45 minutes down the road as well and, like Bradford, they are a big club who have been in the Championship and have a big stadium.
“It should be a good battle and we’re looking forward to it. They have some very good players so it’s important that we make sure we don’t take it lightly.”
Parkinson said there were no new injury concerns from the Crewe match as he praised his players for eking out a hard-earned point.
“Sometimes the character in your side can set you apart from other teams in your league,” said the City boss.
“The Wolves game was one we really should have won but when that happens you could maybe feel sorry for yourself in the next match. We were conscious of that and we had to make sure we put in a performance.
“Yes, we wanted to get the result at Crewe, but a point on our travels isn’t the worst scenario.
“We will now go to Rotherham and enjoy the occasion because it’s a local derby. If we play our best, I know we can beat them.”
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