I said he Will win over Bantams fans and he is doing, says Parkinson (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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I said he Will win over Bantams fans and he is doing, says Phil Parkinson
Will Atkinson is winning his battle with the Valley Parade supporters – just as Phil Parkinson predicted he would.
The Bantams boss is convinced the midfielder is beginning to show his worth to the club after coming through a tough loan spell.
Atkinson came in for stick last season after arriving from Hull in January and found himself a scapegoat with some as City struggled for survival.
But Parkinson backed him to bounce back after giving the 23-year-old a contract in the summer – and he believes Atkinson is already taking strides in the right direction.
Atkinson has appeared in all seven games so far, playing chiefly in a central midfield role rather than his usual spot out wide.
He started Saturday’s draw at Accrington as Parkinson employ-ed three players in the middle – and the Bantams boss was delighted with his impact alongside Gary Jones and Nathan Doyle.
Parkinson said: “Will is so fit that he fills holes all the time. He has got a terrific engine in him.
“It’s taken him a while to settle at the club and show us what he’s all about but I thought the ground he covered in midfield on Saturday was exceptional.
“He’s always in the right place at the right time. His honesty as a footballer is absolutely fantastic.
“He’s got quality as well and he’s starting to show that.”
Parkinson can detect a shift in public opinion with a player who has been promoted from League Two before with Rochdale. As Luke Oliver showed last season, the mood can soon change with some strong performances.
He added: “All the lads who were here last year, I don’t think there were too many who were popular with our supporters because it was a tough old season.
“But it’s a new start for everybody and I’m pleased for Will. I sense he’s really winning our supporters over.”
Atkinson has had the opportunity to shine with central midfielder Ricky Ravenhill and Ritchie Jones both stuck on the sidelines.
Ravenhill begins his comeback for the reserves at Port Vale tonight and Jones, who only returned to training on Monday, could also have a chance of being involved.
Parkinson said: “They are two big players for us and it’s been a blow to be without them. It will be good to have that extra competition that they will bring.
“The midfield department has worked okay so far. Will has come in and taken up the mantle in that area and done well.”
Parkinson is waiting to find out the extent of the hip problem that has been troubling Nahki Wells. The striker, who was left out against Accrington, went for a scan yesterday.
“It settles down and then flares up again suddenly. Nahki has been able to train fine but it’s just when he strikes a ball that it catches – which is obviously a major part of his game.
"I didn’t feel I needed to play him (last Saturday) unless he was right in his mind. But we’re now going to investigate it more thoroughly.”