Alan Pardew reckons City have a “35 per cent” chance of winning the Capital One Cup – but feels they will struggle to hang on to Phil Parkinson if they do.
The Newcastle boss admits the whole of football has been stunned by the way a League Two side have made it to Wembley.
Pardew, a good friend of Parkinson, was at Villa Park to see the job done in the second semi-final – and jumped out of his seat when James Hanson scored the tie-clinching goal.
With Parkinson’s contract up in the summer, Pardew expects rival offers to come flooding in if City complete the miracle and beat Swansea on Sunday.
He told the T&A: “Win the League Cup final and it will be very difficult for the club to hold on to him. Phil is going to be in such demand and rightly so.
“It’s a massive achievement to take Bradford to a final. They should really have absolutely no right to be there.
“It’s a tremendous tribute to the players who have done it and the manager, of course.
“But the situation is all good; nobody loses. Bradford will hopefully win the cup and then promotion may follow.
“All of a sudden, the club find themselves in a much healthier position in the summer. If they don’t manage to keep Phil on another contract, it’s a great position for a new manager to follow up.
“Everywhere is the same – the football club is the most important thing and Phil will be aware of that.”
The pair have been close since Pardew became Reading manager in 1998 and Parkinson was his captain. Pardew knew then that the player had what it takes for the hot-seat.
He said: “I had no doubts he’d go down that line. Phil’s always been very articulate and a strong personality.
“He carried himself well and said the right things in the changing room as a player.
“Technically he was a poor player, though. We wouldn’t give him the ball at one period of my tenure but he’d still win it back! His work ethic was always high in everything he did.”
Parkinson turned to Pardew for advice when he went for the Valley Parade post 18 months ago. Pardew had no doubt that he could succeed at a club stuck in the doldrums.
He said: “I think people underestimate that Phil could have taken a better job than Bradford. He was very brave to take that role.
“I remember speaking to him and he had some slight reservations. My message was ‘believe in your ability’ and he has proven that more than once.
“Nobody is too big to end up where Bradford find themselves. I heard the same about Portsmouth, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday.
“The recent history hasn’t been very successful but there’s no reason why they can’t come back again. When you take a job like Bradford, that’s what you want to achieve.”
Pardew hopes to be at Wembley to see if Parkinson can pull off the most remarkable cup win in history. He certainly feels City are capable of claiming a fourth top-flight scalp.
“In a cup final, you have a realistic opportunity of winning,” he said.
“It’s not a 50 per cent chance but I’d say around 35 per cent. That’s still a good percentage to win a game from – I’ve gone into games thinking like that and won.
“I would have put Bradford’s chance of beating Arsenal at home at only 25 per cent. So they’ve already proved that they can do it.
“I was at Villa and jumped up when the goal went in – that’s the first time all year. Definitely count me as a Bradford fan on Sunday.”