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Phil Parkinson receives welcome pre-season club support to prepare Bradford City players in Ireland
City believe Irish eyes will be smiling on their promotion ambitions.
Phil Parkinson is finalising plans for the two-game stop in Ireland in pre-season.
The club see the away break as a crucial part of the build-up to hit the new term running.
Director of operations David Baldwin said: “We can’t underestimate the importance of pre-season. It has been meticulously put together.
“Phil knows clearly what he is doing and there is no deviation from that. From a board perspective, that’s why we sanctioned the Ireland trip.
“The manager has given a very clear-cut case of why that has to take place.
Considering this will be going into my sixth season involved at the club, this is the most optimistic I have been with the preparationDavid Baldwin
“Firstly, you’ve got the ability to have the group in close proximity of each other for an extended period of time.
“Given that situation, you have the intensity of training as well. There isn’t the problem of getting in your vehicles and travelling back home, so you have the option of extending sessions.
“In addition to that, you’re playing opposition out there who are halfway through their league season.
“They aren’t into the pre-season mentality, they’re competing in their league. That pushes you on early doors.”
Crossing the Irish Sea is a tried and trusted preparation method for Parkinson. He took the same route with Charlton in 2009, playing games in the south-west against Bray and Wexford Youth.
The opposition is still to be confirmed but the games are expected to take place in the last week of July. City are likely to face a similar standard of team.
They will be up against match-fit players who are well into their own campaign, adding extra intensity to the usual pre-season warm-ups.
The Airtricity League runs from early March to the end of October. Unlike facing sides who are similarly just slipping back into the groove, City’s opposition will have at least 21 league games under their belts by that stage.
Baldwin said: “The tempo of the game will be much better for it. The speed at which they play will be greater because they are mid-season.
“It’s something Phil has historically done with Charlton and other clubs have done the same.
“Teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers as well as other Championship and Premier League clubs have gone over there and played.
“There is reason why they do it. They know it’s a good link and the facilities are very good and all housed together.
“The trip is not cheap. There’s been a remit from the sales and marketing team to try to generate some funds to help pay towards it.
“But Phil stated a good case and the board sanctioned that. We want to have the best preparation.”
City last went out of the country in 2008 when Stuart McCall took them north of the border for friendlies against Dundee and Motherwell.
Peter Taylor came in for flak two years ago for taking the team on tour to Essex. City played four games in six days, including one against Stambridge United – a local league club playing the equivalent of nine divisions below.
Baldwin said: “People very openly criticised the preparation of the Peter Taylor pre-season and the standard of opposition. People had opinions on that and they are probably right.
“Phil has got a very clear structure of stepping up the training and the friendlies.
“We’re likely to have only one pre-season game before we go to Ireland and then two over there.
“Then we return to play Guiseley, Bury, Bradford Park Avenue and Barnsley before you’re into the first round of the Carling Cup the following week.
“The plan is that we’re going step by step to ensure we hit the ground running.
“Considering this will be going into my sixth season involved at the club, this is the most optimistic I have been with the preparation.”