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Posh repeat wanted as Phil Parkinson tells Bantams to enjoy the ride
Enjoy yourself – that’s the message from Phil Parkinson as City face their Valley Parade swansong tomorrow.
Crawley’s visit brings the curtain down on a fluctuating home campaign that has seen his men win only one more than they have lost.
But City raised their game to down high-flying Peterborough last week – and Parkinson wants that performance as the template for a contest between two teams safe in mid-table.
He said: “The last home game was great and we need to reproduce that kind of display. That was the intensity we play at when we are at our best.
“Crawley are obviously not quite as open as Peterborough in terms of how they play, so it may not be quite as end to end. But we’ve got to set the team up to make sure we’ve got enough attacking threat in the side.
“We can go and enjoy the day. We’ve said all along that we wanted it done and dusted before these last two games and it has been.
“It’s important now that we go out and play with freedom and make the most of the occasion.
“We’ve worked really hard to make sure we secured our League One status. It was imperative we did that.
“There are a lot of teams going into these last couple of weeks of the season feeling plenty of pressure. Hopefully not having that can reflect in the way we play.”
Adam Reach’s return to Middlesbrough opens up a spot in midfield. Mark Yeates, who has not started a game since December, comes into contention but Kyle Bennett and Raffael De Vita can also play on the left side.
Doyle’s departure at half-time hit City hard but he plans to train today and is hopeful of featuring.
Hanson did not play on Monday despite travelling down with the squad. He is optimistic of being involved again.
Parkinson added: “Nathan’s keen to play with this being the last home game. He’s done well, especially in the last couple of months.
“But I don’t want to put him out there as a token gesture. He’s got to have a real determination to see the game through.
“With James, last Friday’s game against Peterborough was one all mighty effort from everyone and from him in particular. We’ll have a look at him as well.”
James Meredith is likely to be on the bench after reporting no ill effects from his 45 minutes at the County Ground – his first action since breaking a bone in his right foot in the first week of January.
Parkinson said: “There’s been no reaction at all. Mez is absolutely fine.
“I just wanted to get him on the pitch and give him a chance. He’ll come on greatly for that and I’d hope he can be involved again at some point before the end of the season.”
With a dozen of the senior squad out of contract in the summer, tomorrow could be a home farewell for several players.
Parkinson is keen to get the ball rolling over his squad plans for next season but stressed that nobody has been informed of their fate so far.
“No decisions have been made yet on budgets and contracts,” he said. “About a month ago, I had a chat with Julian (Rhodes) on certain things but we put that on hold until we retained our status.
“When the time is right, we will sit down with the players concerned.
“We’ve learned a hell of a lot this season and will take those lessons with us into the summer. We’ll be better and stronger for that.
“The start we had maybe lulled us into a false sense of security. Then the disruption we’ve had has been challenging throughout the year.
“But it’s been a very competitive league and we want to finish the season well.”
Crawley will be playing their 19th game in 63 days after suffering a series of postponements during the floods in January and February.
*There will be the traditional minute’s silence before kick-off of the final home game to remember the victims of the fire disaster.
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