Steve Parkin insists City will not go into tonight’s FA Cup replay with Northampton under-prepared after training was cancelled yesterday.
The session was called off as a precaution after Garry Thompson and Jon McLaughlin phoned in complaining of symptoms from a bug going round the club.
James Hanson and Ritchie Jones have both just come back from a bout of the illness and City are keen to make sure it does not spread.
But with such a relentless schedule of matches at the moment, City number two Parkin does not see an extra day off as a problem.
He said: “With the quantity of games, they don’t need training because they are fit enough. It’s just continuous.
“The good thing is that we’re up against somebody we’ve played twice in a fortnight so we know everything we need to about them. We’ll have a good idea whatever team Aidy (Boothroyd) picks.
“The lads are clued in to what we want them to do. The only concern for us is to make sure we’ve got as many players available as we can.”
Northampton’s goal in the first cup tie was the only one past the Bantams in the last four games.
They are forced into a defensive switch after back-to-back clean sheets because John Egan is not allowed to play by Sunderland. So Carl McHugh will return alongside Rory McArdle to resume their partnership from ten days ago.
Parkin added: “Carl could probably consider himself unfortunate to be left out because he’d done nothing wrong at all. He was superb at Wigan. But he understands we needed to strengthen after losing Olly (Luke Oliver) and Dava (Andrew Davies). Johny has come in and played really well.”
McArdle has relished the role as the back four’s senior statesman since that injury double blow. That comes as no surprise to Parkin, who first signed him for Rochdale as a teenager.
“He was only 17 but I brought him in from Sheffield Wednesday because I saw everything I like in a centre back. He is strong in the air, a good tackler and aggressive with it.
“While he has done well at right back when we’ve needed, he has been very good at centre half since we lost the other two.”
Northampton are fresh from winning 4-2 at Accrington when Adebayo Akinfenwa claimed the first hat-trick of his career. But one-time Bantam Louis Moult, who scored Northampton’s equaliser at Sixfields, is banned.
Eccleshill-born Boothroyd expects his defence to have their hands full trying to shackle City – and is another admirer of James Hanson.
Boothroyd said: “He is a massive presence and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the best part of their team is the front.
“Both of their strikers are down to good recruitment. In James’s case, that was down to good local knowledge to pick him up from Guiseley, which is near where I’m from originally.
“Sometimes the non-league mentality of knowing what real life is like can give you a spur in professional football. You treasure every day and you know how privileged you are to do it as a job.”