Phil Parkinson is urging City to come bursting out of the blocks at Carlisle tonight after their chalk and cheese weekend show.

The Bantams boss wants to see his team start how they finished against Crewe by reproducing the form which saw them score three second-half goals.

But he is also demanding a better defensive display at Brunton Park and will give a late test to Rory McArdle.

The Northern Ireland international was reportedly much improved yesterday following the badly-cut eye he suffered on Friday.

Parkinson said: “We can’t wait until half-time to suddenly become this positive, attack-minded team.

“We know over the last 18 months that we have a certain mindset when we play at our best.

“Look at the second half when we got Crewe on the back foot and then there was space to play. The supporters saw Matty Dolan and Gary Jones on the ball in midfield.

“There was so much more positivity in our second-half play. Our first thought was ‘can we run forward and pass forward’ – in the first half it was ‘can we pass backwards?’ “No team at this level could create as many chances in 45 minutes as we did on Saturday. I don’t think anyone could have complained if we’d scored six.”

City have now gone 12 games without a win but fifth-bottom Carlisle are wobbling after seven defeats in nine. Parkinson feels a solid defence is the key to ending the drought.

He said: “We’ve got to defend better. We need the back four and the goalkeeper to give us a platform to win a game. We need to have the belief that we can win 1-0 somewhere.

“There wasn’t any question about the toughness or commitment of our defenders on Saturday but some of our decision-making wasn’t quite right. We’ve got to make sure that’s better tonight.

“You won’t get a more honest bunch of defenders but sometimes there’s a little bit of desperation to win and do well.

“Of course we make sure we’re committed with a challenge but you also need that calmness with decisions.”

Struggling Carlisle have already used 45 players – far more than anyone else in League One – and boss Graham Kavanagh is still weighing up further loan additions.

Only two of the side thrashed 4-0 at Valley Parade in August, when Greg Abbott was still in charge, started Saturday’s seventh home loss of the season against Gillingham.

Parkinson said: “They are going to be fired up for it after losing at home – but we’ve got to meet fire with fire.

“I understand that Carlisle were a little unfortunate not to get something out the game against Gillingham. But we were probably unfortunate not to win on Saturday, so we both haven’t got our rewards.

“Their team is a bit different (to last time) like us. Kav will be taking his time but it’s obvious you need that when you’ve had that much change.”