City are cautiously optimistic that Adam Reach’s return to his former loan haunt won’t be his last outing for the club.
The Middlesbrough winger’s second month with the Bantams runs out after tomorrow’s trip to Shrewsbury.
Phil Parkinson has contacted Boro about extending the deal again – and is waiting for the green light from opposite number Aitor Karanka.
Parkinson said: “Adam would like to stay and we’d like to keep him. Hopefully we can but we’re just waiting on clarification from their manager.”
Boro winger Mustapha Carayol tore a cruciate at Bournemouth last week but it appears that the Championship club are not looking to take back Reach as cover.
Reach makes his 11th City appearance tomorrow against the club where he played 24 times during the first half of the season.
Second-from-bottom Shrews-bury’s current form mirrors City’s mid-term slump. They have won only one of the last 13 games – and not at home since November 23.
Ironically it was Reach who scored the only goal that day when they beat Notts County.
Ten home games have followed without success and another failure tomorrow would equal an unwanted club record.
But City have lost at both fellow strugglers Notts County and Carlisle and Parkinson appreciates the “strength in depth” of the division.
He said: “Shrewsbury have had a lot of tight games. I saw them on Tuesday lose a close one at Colchester after they had a great chance to go 1-0 up.
“They also played terrifically well at Molineux last Saturday to get a draw against Wolves.
“But we’ve said throughout the season there are very tight lines between teams.
“It’s been a strong division this year. There is strength in depth and the quality level has been high. Every game is a tight one and this will be no different.”
Parkinson wants City to build on the bright displays against Colchester and Gillingham. They are chasing back-to-back away wins for only the second time this season.
“We’ve got to go there with a positive performance. Look at the Colchester game – our best performances this year and last have been when we’ve gone there in a really positive frame of mind.
“We want to really take the game to them right from the first minute.”
Parkinson has a big call to make in central midfield where skipper Gary Jones is pushing to return after his recent virus. But understudy Matty Dolan has impressed in his two starts.
“Gary is not completely right,” said Parkinson. “There’s still a little bit in there.
“He’s trained great but I’ve just got to make sure that if he starts, is he going (to be able) to go 90 minutes Saturday and Tuesday?
“What I don’t want to do is set him back again and lose him for longer. We’ve just got to manage Gazza and he understands that.
“There are still ten games left and that’s a large chunk of the season.
“It’s good that Matty is champing at the bit to play. He’s not knocked on my door but he’s done it with the manner of his performances.
“He’s played in a way to suggest ‘can I leave him out?’ If I do, it will be a tough call.
“But Matty, like everybody, knows we’ve got four games in a short space of time.”
Parkinson is willing to shuffle his pack for the busy period and the past week’s training programme has concentrated on some of the players not currently featuring.
“It’s good from our point of view that the players who’ve come in – Benno (Bennett), Drury, Dolan, Reach and Mclean – are really playing well. That gives everybody a lift.
“At the start of the season we’d gone with the same group. Now there is a freshness in and around the building.
“We know coming into this run of games there are players who haven’t figured who are going to get a chance.
“We’ve had a good week with those players like Yeatesy (Mark Yeates), Raffa De Vita, Carl McHugh and Batesy (Matthew Bates) who have worked really hard for this.”