Parkinson warns Bradford City must get back on track in league before cup diversions (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Phil Parkinson warns Bradford City must get back on track in league before cup diversions
Phil Parkinson will demand an immediate response from City as they embark on a “huge week” for their promotion chances.
The Bantams host Plymouth tonight and then travel to Bristol Rovers before the next batch of cup ties take over.
Parkinson insists they must pick it up in the league again after Saturday’s home slip-up to Exeter.
He said: “We’ve got a really big two games coming up. Three of the next four after that are in the cup but they are bonuses.
“The league is huge for us. These two games will determine whether we’ll go into those in the top seven or not – and we’ve got to make sure we do.”
Defenders James Meredith and Stephen Darby are both ready to return after recovering from hip problems. But Zavon Hines, whose injured ankle was scanned yesterday, is likely to remain on the sidelines.
City have fired blanks in their last two league outings at Valley Parade and Parkinson wants to see more done to assist top scorer Nahki Wells.
James Hanson, in particular, has gone 15 games since his last goal against Morecambe – the longest drought of the centre forward’s career.
“We were full of praise for the way James performed at Aldershot but he knows that strikers are judged on goals,” said Parkinson.
“He’s had a lot of chances of late and he’s got to be hard on himself. He’s a key player for us and has done great with the role he offers the team but he knows he’s got to produce.
“We can’t just rely on Nahki to score. He’s got a tremendous ratio but we need other people in the team to chip in.
“We need them to come up to the plate. Everybody in the team has to have a responsibility to have that desire to score.”
Plymouth have lost five of their last six games, including an FA Cup exit at non-league Dorchester, and the City chief expects his side to get at them from the start.
Parkinson felt there were signs of slipping back into bad habits at the weekend and wants that stamped out straight away.
He said: “The first half on Saturday was the first time I thought we did that. We only started playing when the chips were down and we can’t have that.
“Everybody’s got to be right on it. We’ve got to be on the front foot and positive in everything we do; that’s the way we play.
“We need to be flat out and if people give us so much for 70 minutes that we have to bring them off, then that’s what we’ll do.
“We’ve done tremendously well this season with a small squad. Saturday was a day when things caught up with us a little bit and I totally accept that.
“The make-up of the side didn’t carry enough threat and we’ve got to rectify that to work the opposition goal more than we did.
“I want us to go back to our home form and how positive we’ve been up to now.”
Striker Alan Connell added: “We’ve put ourselves in a reasonably good position so far and we don’t want to undo that. We need to get back on track.
“Plymouth are a big club size-wise but not having the best of seasons, so we’ve got to play with real intensity and tempo.”
Plymouth will be without experienced centre half Darren Purse, who was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident in their 3-0 defeat at Fleetwood.