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Bradford City players get license to ‘hurt’ opponents after gaining upper hand
Phil Parkinson wants City to make every pass count when they kick off their Valley Parade campaign tonight.
City host ambitious new boys Fleetwood and Parkinson is likely to make changes from the side beaten at Gillingham on Saturday.
Scoreline aside, the Bantams boss watched back the DVD with some satisfaction – but he admits his team should have done a lot more with the huge possession advantage they enjoyed.
That is one area he is looking to improve for the visit of Micky Mellon’s Cod Army.
“There was lots of good stuff in our display but also some parts that we need to work on and we’ve spoken about them with the lads,” said Parkinson.
“We had 75 per cent of the possession, which is fantastic, but did we hurt them enough? That’s something we’ve looked at in training.
“But there were so many really good performances, throughout the spine of the team in particular, and we want to build on that.”
Centre midfield remains a problem area and Ritchie Jones went for an x-ray yesterday on his twisted ankle ligaments. But having left training on crutches on Friday, Parkinson is not too hopeful about his immediate chances.
Jones, having just recovered from a hamstring strain, had been pencilled in for the bench at Gillingham and a start tonight.
Will Atkinson again filled in at the weekend but Parkinson is likely to make a change – with Nathan Doyle primed to make his full debut.
Parkinson said: “It’s a difficult scenario in central midfield at the moment. Ritchie was obviously in our mind to come back in but then did his ankle, so we’re short in that area again.
“I used Will in there, which is a different position for him, and he’s done well. Equally that’s not enough cover in that area.
“It’s disappointing to have that problem at the start of the season with Ricky (Ravenhill) and Jonah out. But it’s one we’ll get round.
“We’ve got to look at freshening it up in one or two areas, which we’re thinking about.”
Nahki Wells could get the nod over Alan Connell up front after making an impact as a substitute. Andrew Davies is also pushing to be involved after coming off the bench.
Rory McArdle may be switched to right back to accommodate Davies’ return at centre half.
Fleetwood’s financial muscle, backed by wealthy chairman Andy Pilley, has seen them snap up former Birmingham and Huddersfield midfielder Damien Johnson and Cardiff striker Jon Parkin – who is thought to be on around £4,000 a week.
Parkinson said: “Fleetwood have been built up as the promotion favourites and have signed some good players. Equally they have lost probably their best player in Jamie Vardy as well.
“They’ve got wealthy backers and people are always going to look at the players they’ve brought in. But it’s a competitive division across the board.
“We’ll have to really test them. It’s a good first home game for us.”