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Peter Beagrie’s set-piece recipe for Bradford City to win cup
Peter Beagrie believes City can exploit Swansea’s set-piece weakness to pull off the ultimate Wembley shock.
The Welsh side have conceded more goals from dead-ball situations than any club in the Premier League.
With the aerial power at Phil Parkinson’s disposal, Beagrie reckons underdogs City can play on that in Sunday’s Capital One Cup final.
He has also been impressed with their fitness – which will be crucial on the biggest stage of them all.
The former Valley Parade crowd-pleaser said: “Set-pieces are Swansea’s Achilles heel and Phil’s certainly got the people to exploit that.
“He’s got the two big Macs at centre half, who got the goals in the previous rounds, big James Hanson – and Andrew Davies is no shrinking violet to attacking the ball in the air, especially with the great delivery from Gary Jones.
“But it’s not just the set-pieces. Phil has also got Bradford very organised and playing at a great tempo.
“He’s got them fitter than I’ve seen any Bradford City side. Now it’s all about maintaining that level of performance throughout and stopping quality players getting time on the ball.”
With Parkinson’s contract up in the summer, Beagrie reckons City’s amazing cup success has earned him a new deal – and cash to splash.
He said: “It’s not about what happens in the final. Phil’s a disciplinarian and a good organiser and we’ve seen his changes in the games.
“It was a plum job to take because of the size of the crowds and the budget and I think he’s been great. He deserves a new contract.
“With the money that’s now secured Bradford’s financial existence long term, he should be given a few pennies to build and finish off the job.
“Bradford’s fall from grace has stopped now, stability and a steady climb back up is what we want.”
Beagrie cited Parkinson’s half-time team talk in the second semi-final as the pivotal moment of the run. City were trailing Aston Villa 1-0 and firmly under the cosh.
“They went for safety in numbers and sacrificed possession, allowed Villa nearer the goal and it was only a matter of time before they scored more than one,” he said.
“Phil told them ‘we’ve got to be braver’. They came out and the front two pushed on.
“The first time Bradford turned the Villa defence, they got a corner from it and the rest is history.
“The final is a pressurised situation and I don’t know whether they’ll be able to replicate that energy level.
“It’s been a great run but now they are actually there and it’s a very different scenario.
“I’m obviously massively biased but if you look at it from a neutral point of view, everyone will say Bradford have already won it because of getting to the final. That’s right as well.
“But from a professional point of view, if I’m in that dressing room now you’d want to get a victory – and if you can’t, then at least put on a good show.”
Beagrie was talking on behalf of the Capital One Convoy, the free coaches laid on by the sponsors to take supporters from both clubs to Wembley.
“It’s a great reward for the fans and the atmosphere is going to be a special one, like nobody’s had before,” he said.
“Both sides have a hardcore that have stuck with them through thin and thinner, as it has been of late. This is their day out.
“Capital One couldn’t have asked for a better final. I’ve never seen one create such fervour.”