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Bradford City chief Julian Rhodes: Come on feel the noise!
Julian Rhodes has called for another noisy Valley Parade encore to sing City to a hat-trick of home wins.
Rhodes has been bowled over by the atmosphere generated during the wins of Port Vale and MK Dons that have stabilised their mid-table footing in League One.
The joint-chairman has also praised the crowd’s “rock star” reaction to boss Phil Parkinson despite the recent run of 13 games without a victory.
As City prepare to host bottom club Stevenage tomorrow, Rhodes expressed his gratitude for the part played by the home fans.
He said: “It makes such a difference. The MK Dons keeper’s mistake last week was the kind of thing that happens when you are under pressure from the crowd.
“I thought the atmosphere for the Port Vale game felt more like a cup semi-final. It was that loud.
“The noise when Phil came out was incredible. He was treated like a rock star.”
Rhodes felt that other than for Stuart McCall, such a response for a manager on a bad run of results would have been unheard of.
“I can’t think of any manager at any club, with the exception of Stuart, who would have got a reception like that. But Phil has earned that right for what he has done in the last two years.
“We always talk about honest, hard-working players. That’s exactly what he is as a manager and we all appreciate that.
“He is always completely up front about performances. If they haven’t been good enough he just works even harder to come back with what you expect.
“With a manager like that, people give him time and all the support he needs.
“Here we are in our first season back in League One in 11th place with 14 games to go. I think that’s pretty good going.”
City could make it three home wins on the bounce for the first time since the opening weeks of the season. But before the Port Vale game ten days ago, it had been nearly five months since their previous Valley Parade success against Shrewsbury.
Rhodes added: “The Port Vale game should have been a tension-filled evening because of the situation we were in but the fans didn’t make it like that.
“The players responded to the crowd getting right behind them. It relaxed them and they went for the win from the first minute.
“They were a bit unlucky that it took until injury-time to score but the fans had taken the sting out of the occasion.
“With a different manager, the first mistake that night could have been greeted with a very grumbly reaction and the whole atmosphere would have been very different. But that never happened.
“We identified these home games as absolutely key and it’s so far so good up to now.
“They were two completely contrasting performances. They had to be against two very different teams.
“But for all the possession that MK Dons had, apart from the one cleared off the line, they didn’t really threaten much or carve us open. Whereas I always thought we looked the more likely to score, even if it did come from a mistake.
“You also look at the (Rory) McArdle and (Andrew) Davies partnership at the back. They’ve had four games together since Davies returned from his knee injury and conceded one goal.
“It does make you wonder what might have been.
“But let’s not let ourselves down now. We want to make it three out of three.
“This game is a big one for us because of the fixtures coming up. Going to Brentford next week will be a tough ask and we have a lot of very difficult away trips.
“If we don’t take maximum points, we could be looking over our shoulders again. So it’s important there is no let-up tomorrow.
“For that to happen, we need everybody to do what they’ve done the last two games and get behind Phil and the team.”