Battle of the hot-shots! Parky hoping Wells’ firepower can trigger vital three-point haul for Bantams (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Battle of the hot-shots! Phil Parkinson hoping Nahki Wells’ firepower can trigger vital three-point haul for Bantams
City’s Nahki Wells, pictured, and Peterborough’s Brett Assombalonga have scored 31 goals between them this season
Phil Parkinson predicts a shoot-out between two of the hottest lower-division strikers at Peterborough tomorrow.
Nahki Wells faces the Posh for the first time since City rejected their seven-figure bid for him in the summer. And he will be up against Britt Assombalonga, the hitman Peterbor-ough snapped up for a club record after the Bantams had turned them down.
Wells is halfway to his pre-season target of 30 goals and leads the division with 14 in League One.
Assombalonga is on 16 in total – a tally swelled in the past fortnight by an FA Cup hat-trick against Tranmere and two last week at Peter Taylor’s Gillingham.
Parkinson said: “The directors’ box will be packed. People will be looking at the game as a great opportunity to compare both players.
“Assombalonga obviously did well last year at Southend and he’s gone up a level like Nahki and taken to it just the same. They are two good young strikers.
“It will be an open game with chances at both ends. The way they play, they’ve got a lot of technically gifted players but do leave themselves exposed and I do feel we can exploit that.”
Wells could be partnered up front by Garry Thompson if James Hanson fails to recover from a tight calf that is threatening his ever-present run. Raffaele De Vita (thigh) and Caleb Folan (hamstring) are also struggling.
Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony made their interest in Wells public after City had knocked them back.
MacAnthony said at the time on Twitter: “We made a club record bid but, in fairness to Bradford, they don’t need the money so good for them.”
He later revealed that Assombalonga’s capture from Watford for an undisclosed sum had “smashed” Posh’s previous best of £1.1m for Tyrone Barnett.
City turned them down before telling Wells, who dismissively commented that he was “not too focused on moving sideways.”
Parkinson said: “Peterborough did put in a call but Nahki was in League One already. If he moved in that period, he’d have been looking to go to a division higher. He’s at a big club at this level, similar to Peterborough, so he had no need to move.
“You’re always going to get speculation but other clubs will be in the same situation.
“Anyone with a striker who’s got 15 goals, you are going to get people constantly asking about him, which is good.
“If we weren’t having these discussions, it would mean he wasn’t doing very well.
“Nahki has got to keep his head down and keep doing what he’s doing.
“He knows the only thing he can do is affect the game of football over 90 minutes.”
Skipper Gary Jones said: “I know who I’d rather have! I’m probably biased but it’s going to be a good battle between two sharp-shooters.
“Peterborough aren’t up there via luck, it’s going to be tough. But we’re relishing it and hopefully we can come back with a good positive result to start the Christmas period.
“We’ve had too many draws and I’d rather we win, lose, win, lose. But we’re unbeaten in six so we can take confidence from that.”
City have never won at Peterborough in 13 attempts. But Parkinson has happier memories from London Road – he was an emphatic 5-1 winner on his last visit with Charlton in November 2010.
The Bantams chief added: “That was a magnificent performance, really committed with a strong work ethic. If we can do that tomorrow, then we’ve got a great chance.
“I’ve seen Peterborough twice this season and they were two completely contrasting performances.
“They were really poor at Walsall and I know Darren Ferguson was livid with them. But then I saw them beat Tranmere 5-0 in the cup.
“Peterborough were unfor-tunate to get relegated last year with one of the highest points totals. In the main I don’t think their squad has been weakened since then.
“They play a diamond system and we’re going to have to make sure we’re ready for that. But they lost five games before this recent run so we know they are beatable.”
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