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Phil Parkinson wary of Bradford City stat attack
Phil Parkinson wants City to copy in-form Wycombe’s example to get their promotion campaign back on the rails.
The Bantams are due to make their rearranged trip to Adams Park tonight – subject to a morning pitch inspection – still looking to break their winning duck in 2013.
Their run of just two points from six games since Boxing Day is the worst in League Two. In contrast, Gareth Ainsworth’s red-hot Wanderers have won four out of five – including the last three without conceding a goal.
Parkinson, who could recall Andy Gray up front, is alarmed to see his side slip into mid-table. He admitted the Capital One Cup heroics have taken their toll but is still confident they can regain that lost ground.
He said: “The stats will back up that teams that do well in the cups generally do suffer. I’ve tried everything to avoid that but it has happened to us.
“Are we still good enough to mount a challenge? Yes, I think we are. But we’ve got to get our league form back on track, starting tonight.
“Wycombe are a good side. They’ve gone above us and quite deservedly so because they are on an extraordinary run.
“Look where they were at the start of the season and Gareth has changed them round. We are capable of doing the same.
“But let’s just concentrate on this game. I’ve got to pick the best team and the freshest one to get us a result.”
Gray is in line for his third start since arriving from Leeds last month and that could give James Hanson a break with Wembley only 12 days away.
Parkinson, who will pick his side today, said: “We’ve got options in the team, with players like Andy Gray who we’ve brought in. He’s a proven striker at levels above us.
“He’s chomping at the bit to play and maybe it’s a chance for him now to have a run of games.
“I was frustrated with Saturday because there wasn’t a great deal wrong. Fleetwood was also a good point in a game when we played well.
“We did a lot of good things against Gillingham and should have got something. The lads know it but sometimes chances don’t go in at one end but do at the other. Those are big moments.
“I read the papers this weekend and there were lots of managers saying the same thing. There are defining moments in games.
“Let’s be fair, throughout the season we’ve had some inspirational moments. We didn’t quite have that on Saturday but it’s well within our capability to do it tonight.”
Gray is likely to partner Nahki Wells, who had an off day against Gillingham but remains City’s chief goal threat. Alan Connell is another option but he has struggled to dislodge the Bermudian top scorer. Parkinson said: “It’s always difficult for any player not in the team. Everyone wants to play but they are all pulling together in the same direction.
“In fairness to Nahki, who Connell is competing with, he’s got 18 goals.
“I’m sure Nahki will be the first to admit it wasn’t his greatest game on Saturday. He was very poor by his standards.
“But look at his ratio of goals per game and Nahki’s up there with anyone else in this division. Alan’s ratio is good but it’s all about combinations sometimes.”
Wycombe have not conceded a goal in more than five hours of football and will take some unlocking. They hammered York 4-0 last time out.
Winger Joel Grant said: “There’s nothing better when you know they are going to do well at the back. It says ‘you boys up front, go and do your thing’.”