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Bradford City: Parkinson must find answer to keeper conundrum
PHIL Parkinson hopes to resolve the Jon McLaughlin situation during City’s stay in Ireland.
The long-serving keeper flew out yesterday with the squad, who will take part in the first training session this morning at their base just outside Dublin.
McLaughlin played the second half of Saturday’s opening friendly at Guiseley but is still no nearer to finding out if he will be part of the club’s plans for the new season.
Former Tottenham and Sunderland stopper Ben Alnwick was between the posts up to half-time, one of five trialists City used in a comfortable 3-0 win.
Parkinson admitted the keeper conundrum needs to be sorted quickly so that everyone knows where they stand.
He said: “Jon’s come to Ireland with us. Ben also did well and we’ll probably have a discussion about that among the staff.
“The budget is very tight and I’ve got to get the best goalkeeper for the best price.
“Jon had an offer and he didn’t take that in the summer. We’ll sit down with him this week and have a chat.
“Jon’s fine about it. He’s a very good professional and he’s training hard.
“We’ve got to make sure that department’s strong. It would be foolish for us to sign some good attacking footballers and talented players, which I think we have, and neglect what is a very important position of any team – the goalkeeper.”
One-time QPR frontman Angelo Balanta and right back Nick Arnold are with the team in Ireland. Centre back Richard Bryan, whose first-half display impressed Parkinson, and ex-Derby striker Callum Ball could join them later in the week.
Parkinson feels that Colombian-born Balanta has a point to prove after drifting out of the picture following a successful stint with MK Dons.
He added: “Angelo knows that he’s rebuilding himself to an extent. He’s probably let himself go physically and he’s got a lot of work to do to get back.
“But he’s a very good player, a talented footballer and we’ll just see.
“In my eyes, we still need three or four players to get close to where we were last year. As we’ve said all summer, we’ll probably go for at least two, maybe three long-term loans.
“That’s what we’re working on but that takes time.”
All three City goals at Nethermoor came in the first half. Rookie Lewis Clarkson scored twice and Matty Dolan added a free-kick.
It was also a first glimpse of the shift in approach from the Bantams without wingers. Balanta and then Mark Yeates played behind the front two in a midfield diamond.
Parkinson said: “We’ve got some good technical players in the team and I think the supporters saw that. It will evolve during pre-season.
“Billy Knott and Billy Clarke are the type of players where you need to get the ball into them as often as you can. They are both very creative and I think they are going to be good signings for us.
“The lads have settled in well. It’s important that we bed them in quickly and the trip to Ireland will help that again.”