Bradford City: Manic match schedule has ‘taken its toll on players’ (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City: Manic match schedule has ‘taken its toll on players’
Phil Parkinson admits City’s free week could not have come a moment too soon.
Today is the first Tuesday for over a month that they have not had a game in a hectic schedule.
It is a brief respite before City face three more midweekers on the bounce – trips to Northampton and Premier League Wigan before a home clash with Chesterfield.
Midfielder Ritchie Jones is expected to get some game time for the reserves today against Mansfield as he builds up following his two-month injury absence.
But for the rest of Parkinson’s squad, the next few days are a valuable opportunity to recharge batteries in time for the next busy spell.
City have used only 17 players in the opening 12 league games and Parkinson, who gave them a day off yesterday, feels the recent rush of action has taken its toll.
Parkinson said: “This week is really important for us. Watching from the sidelines, it looked like a game too far on Saturday.
“This is the chance to rest any injuries, recharge the batteries and come out really ready to fight because we play at our best when we play with intensity.”
City looked sluggish in the first half of the draw with York and Parkinson admitted some of his side were carrying knocks from wear and tear.
“Some have played when they probably shouldn’t have done. Andrew Davies has had swelling on his knee for a while and Luke Oliver’s got this hip problem and did really well to be out there.
“The ones who’ve played all the games like Davies need to get their injuries right.
“We’ve got to use the time wisely because once this week’s finished we go again. There are a lot of players who need a rest.”
Parkinson will be keeping his fingers crossed that Rory McArdle returns unscathed from international duty with Northern Ireland.
McArdle is likely to be on the bench for tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Portugal in Porto, where Cristiano Ronaldo will win his 100th cap.