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Parkinson casts first eye over his new-look Bradford City squad
Updated 6:58pm Tuesday 1st July 2014 in Sport
PHIL Parkinson is excited by City’s next chapter as his revamped squad hit the pre-season trail this morning.
The six-week build-up towards the League One opener against Coventry begins with the first training runs at Apperley Bridge.
There will be a new look to the group reassembling at City’s Woodhouse Grove base, with five signings – and several notable absentees.
Jon McLaughlin is expected to be back, even though his contract offer remains unsigned. Parkinson will sit down with the keeper to sort out his situation.
But many of the 2013 “history makers” have gone as City clear the decks for their second season of third-tier football.
Parkinson is operating with a lower budget and admits the rebuild has been a challenge – but one he feels the club can conquer.
He said: “It’s been a difficult summer because of the number of players that have gone. Some were happy to go, some maybe not so.
“Things have been changed around and we’ve had to make cuts but we are trying to do it in the best way possible. I’m pleased with our business so far.
“We are moving on. Football squads evolve and change all the time.
“Some of the changes are enforced because of the finances and others out of choice. But I’m confident that we’ve got players coming into the club who are enthused about playing for Bradford City.”
Versatile striker Billy Clarke became the latest recruit on Friday to follow the capture of Notts County pair Alan Sheehan and Gary Liddle, Billy Knott and the permanent signing of Matty Dolan.
Parkinson insists he needs up to another five players and will look to the loan market nearer to the big kick-off on August 9.
Reports that he is monitoring Adam Reach at Middlesbrough are nothing new – he told the Telegraph & Argus in April that he was keen to bring the winger back to Valley Parade.
Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, who impressed on loan at Notts County last term, is another who could be in his thoughts.
Parkinson added: “A lot of managers you speak to about loans are all in the same boat, especially the ones in the Premier League.
“They want to keep their younger players around the senior squad for the first few weeks of pre-season and possibly include them on a tour away.
“That’s even more the case this year because the players who have been involved in the World Cup will get a longer break before coming back in. So it might take a lot longer to get one or two in on loan.
“I’m excited to be starting again, although we are still at the stage where there are pieces of the jigsaw to be filled in. We’re not ready to go right now.
“Obviously the squad is still light in certain parts but we know what needs to be done.”
After last year’s truncated break following the play-off final, City have had the full two months off. Parkinson believes that has helped those who have performed regularly over the past two seasons.
“They needed a good breather,” he said. “We’ve also had players carrying bits and pieces of injury so it’s been a good chance to clear those up.
“The pre-season schedule is a week longer than last year so it gives us plenty of time to build up. The lads are mentally and physically ready to get going.”