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Banned Bradford City brawl trio can still play key role
Phil Parkinson will not banish City’s disgraced trio from the climax to their season.
Luke Oliver, Andrew Davies and Jon McLaughlin have all stayed away from the training ground ahead of tomorrow’s critical trip to survival rivals Plymouth.
None will be available again for Parkinson until after the Easter weekend at least as they serve bans following the battle of Crawley.
The Bantams are not expected to appeal after the Football Association tonight charged them with failing to control their players.
But City’s boss insists the guilty trio still have a role to play before the campaign is over.
Parkinson said: “When you do something (wrong), you have to pay the penalty. But once that’s happened, we’ll carry on and make sure they are ready for the part of the season they can play in.
With the lads who got sent off missing, it gives those others the opportunity and I’m sure they will take itPhil Parkinson
“The most important thing is we win enough games between now and the end of the season. Being without those players makes it more difficult. But when they are available after the relevant bans, of course they’ll be used if they are needed.”
Crawley have been handed the same charge following Tuesday’s brawl.
There is also an added charge for Pablo Mills, one of the five players sent off, as well as a new one for Kyle McFadzean.
But Parkinson’s thoughts are trained on the Home Park clash with the side three points and three places behind.
Parkinson said: “We sent Matt out on loan to get games and he’s done well. He comes back in good form and I know he’s a very good goalkeeper.
“Guy’s professionalism has been first class and he gets his opportunity now. With the lads who got sent off missing, it gives those others the opportunity and I’m sure they will take it.
“The three players weren’t here yesterday because I thought it was best they stayed away. Let Steve (Parkin) and I focus on the team.
“How do I lift morale? I could try and have a jovial training session. But to be fair, the only way to lift morale is to go to Plymouth and get the result.”
Simon Ramsden is fit to return after missing Tuesday as a precaution with a tight hamstring. In hindsight, that decision has done Parkinson a favour, especially with left back Matt Fry troubled by his groin.
Ricky Ravenhill also hopes to recover in time from the painful kick on the ankle he suffered from a lunging foul by Crawley striker Leon Clarke.
Plymouth have lost only one of their last eight home games, although five have ended in draws. Carl Fletcher’s side have also tightened up considerably at the back and have let in only five goals from ten outings.
Fletcher last week brought in namesake Steve and the 39-year-old former Bournemouth battering ram, who used to have some real duels with David Wetherall, could make his home debut.
It will be City’s first visit to the most southerly ground in England since August 1994, when Paul Jewell scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win.