Thompson itching to kick-start league campaign with Bradford City (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Thompson itching to kick-start league campaign with Bradford City
Garry Thompson is closing in on his first league start since the opening day as City look to get back on the winning trail against York.
Thompson played in the midweek JPT win at Hartlepool and feels he has done enough to convince Phil Par-kinson to give him another go.
So far the 32-year-old has been on the pitch for every minute of City’s four cup games.
But his longest appearance in the league was for just under an hour at Gillingham in the season opener.
Thompson partnered James Hanson on Tuesday with Alan Connell in the hole behind them. With Nahki Wells expected to return, Parkinson could even consider changing the target men.
Thompson said: “We’re coming into the 12th game and I’d hoped to have started more. But the team was on a good run and it’s hard to force your way in.
“We’ve had a couple of poor results recently and I’m hoping my performance on Tuesday has staked another claim.
“I’m at the age where I need to be playing regularly. I want to get my chance and show the fans what I can do.
“It’s down to me. All I can do when I go on the pitch is play well and I think I’ve done that.”
Defender Rory McArdle misses out after being called up for Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier in Portugal on Tuesday.
National boss Michael O’Neill rejected City’s req-uest to let him play tomorrow and then fly out after the game.
Stephen Darby will continue at right back but Mc-Ardle’s absence puts the onus on Luke Oliver to recover from his sore hip in time to resume in the middle.
Parkinson said: “Luke is 50-50 at the moment and I explained to Michael we had a few injuries. But obviously he’s got to do his job for Northern Ireland like I have to do for Bradford.
“It’s a concern but that’s what the squad is for. Players coming in have to make the most of it.
“Stephen, for example, is one of the most unfortunate players not to get in the side. He could stay in for the rest of the season because he’s good enough to do that.”
City are still without Kyel Reid and Gary Jones and Parkinson may consider sticking with the wing-less formation that has worked in the last one-and-a-half away games.
He added: “It’s good to have that option. We’re trying to find a way of playing without some key people and still be as effective.
“We’re working on that but equally we’ve played the more conventional 4-4-2 at home and done well this season.”
Jones was in the gym yesterday but is not ready to resume running. It will be next month before he is ready to come back.
Parkinson said: “He’s still a couple of weeks away at least. Gary’s been in a little bit of pain and sometimes you’ve got to let nature take its course.”
York, who last visited Valley Parade in 1996, have won only once in eight games and have not scored in over five hours. But their form on the road is decent – they have netted in each of the last 23 outings away from Bootham Crescent.
Parkinson added: “York had a great season last year and, like a lot of teams who’ve come up, have a great expectancy to be near the top of the table.
“Crawley, Stevenage and the like have done that. Quite a few teams in the Conference have spent a lot of money to get out of it.
“We’ve competed for players with some clubs and the wages they have paid have been astronomical. Chairmen are chasing league status and are prepared to pay for it.
“So if they did get up to this division, there are a lot of clubs who would be more than comfortable from what I’ve seen.”
City’s defeat to Port Vale a fortnight ago was their first at home since March. But Thompson is confident they can bounce back.
He said: “We should have won that game. If we’re on the money and put in the same performance, we’ll come away with the three points.
“Get our crowd behind you and it’s an amazing place to play. I’d love to be involved tomorrow and to score would be a bonus.”