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Phil Parkinson: Bradford City in stronger position than this time last year
Phil Parkinson hailed the strong core to his City squad but stressed: We still need more.
The players are back in for two days of fitness tests before pre-season kicks off properly on Monday.
They include the seven summer signings as Parkinson completely remoulds the team he hastily took over at the start of last season.
Garry Thompson and Stephen Darby are the newest arrivals but the Bantams boss remains on the look-out to keep strengthening.
Parkinson said: “We’ve still got some work to do and that continues every day. But if you write out the squad now going into the first week of pre-season, then the nucleus is starting to look decent.
“It’s not strong enough yet and we do need more options. But there are some good players in there.
Sometimes you have to be patient when you hold out for the signings you want and we’ve done that with Stephen (Darby)Phil Parkinson
“The club are in a stronger position than this time last year, which can only be a good thing. It’s my job to make sure we keep building on that – and we will do.”
Parkinson revealed that he had been tracking Darby’s progress for the past three years since the right back shone against his Charlton side.
He said: “Stephen was playing against me for Swindon in the play-offs. He caught my attention as someone of a young age playing very well in a big occasion.
“He’s a very good one-on-one defender and all-round player with 90-odd games at League One level under his belt for Swindon, Notts County and Rochdale.
“He’s another player who’s going to improve. We want as many as possible in the squad who can grow with the club.”
With James Meredith on the left side, Parkinson will be looking for more mobility from both full backs next season.
He said: “Stephen’s got good energy and both him and James are strong athletes. They can both get forward, although the main job as a full back is to stop crosses coming into the box.
“But he’s another signing that has taken a long time for us to complete. Sometimes you have to be patient when you hold out for the ones you want and we’ve done that with Stephen.”