PHIL Parkinson admits he cannot wait to go back to Valley Parade for the first time in almost seven years.

The club’s history-making manager returns with Wrexham for a mouth-watering clash on Saturday.

It will be only the second occasion that he has been back at City since ending his five-year stint in charge in 2016.

With over 21,000 tickets sold, the club are eyeing their biggest modern-day league crowd – and Parkinson is excited to be part of it.

“I’m really looking forward to going back to Valley Parade,” he said.

“My memories of being at Bradford are the big crowds and atmosphere and this weekend’s going to be no different to that.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Phil Parkinson shakes hands with Mark Hughes in AugustPhil Parkinson shakes hands with Mark Hughes in August (Image: Thomas Gadd)

“Everyone knows the potential support at Bradford and it’s amazing. We’ve sold out our allocation again which is another great indication of the level of support.

“Everywhere we go we sell out the away end. Whether it’s the National League or this league, we’re used to going away from home and it being the team’s biggest attendance of the season.

“It’s going to be a cracking game between two good sides. Bradford have got a bit of momentum from the last three games and we’re in decent form.

“We had to work exceptionally hard to get back into the league.

“Those away days at Kings Lynn and Dover were tough and that’s what made the National League such a challenge.

“But the supporters, the staff and the players worked hard to go to stadiums like Valley Parade, real traditional arenas, and embrace the occasion.”

City edged past Wrexham on penalties in the Carabao Cup in August. But with Mark Hughes gone since then, Parkinson expects a different type of game as Kevin McDonald chases a fourth straight win in the caretaker role.

Parkinson added: “Kevin has done well since he’s been put in and got three good results.

“Anyone who takes over is going to put their own mark on the team. That’s what it looks like Kev’s done.

“Mark Hughes was unlucky last year after getting them in the play-offs.

“Sometimes, the year after a play-off defeat can be a tough start to the season.

“I’ve been in and managed teams who’ve lost in the play-offs and it can, for whatever reason, take a bit of time to get going again.

“But the club have decided to make the change and they are having some good results.

“It’s up to us to analyse Bradford during the week and put our game-plan together to go there and keep our own run going.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Phil Parkinson walks out behind Stuart McCall on his last visitPhil Parkinson walks out behind Stuart McCall on his last visit (Image: Thomas Gadd)

Parkinson’s previous visit to City with Bolton finished in a thrilling 2-2 draw in January 2017 – the visitors hitting back from two down in front of a packed 21,190 crowd.

“I remember it vividly and it was a highly-charged atmosphere for so many reasons,” he told the T&A.

“Bradford played so well first half and obviously we came back into it and got a hard-earned draw, which was an important point for us in our promotion season.

“I’ve only been back the once and can’t wait to be there again.

“Bradford played a big part in mine and my family’s lives and for Steve (Parkin) and his family.

“I used to drive into Bradford and see the ground from the distance. It was always special every single match day and I was very proud to be manager.

“Our kids followed the team home and away when we were there and there are so many incredible memories of the cup games and promotion and establishing the club at the top end of League One.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing some people I haven’t seen for a long time. But we’ll do everything we can to get the points.”