Bradford City 1 Yeovil Town 3: Game too far for injury-hit Bradford as Parkinson considers loan options

Rory McArdle's bullet header pulls a goal back for Bradford in the first half against Yeovil (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Rory McArdle's bullet header pulls a goal back for Bradford in the first half against Yeovil (Picture: Tony Johnson).
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BRADFORD City manager Phil Parkinson will ponder a move into the loan market once he has assessed his walking wounded at Valley Parade.

Given the situation, Parkinson was not unduly perturbed by Saturday’s second home defeat of the season.

Rory McArdle turns to celebrate his goal. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Rory McArdle turns to celebrate his goal. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

He felt it had been a game too far for his squad who will get their first midweek break of the season this week as the loan window re-opens.

Parkinson will be able to make a move if he feels it is necessary even though the collapse of City product Tom Cleverley’s permanent move from Manchester United to Aston Villa has cost them around £750,000 which they would have received as part of a 10 per cent sell-on clause.

Parkinson, who was able to name the same side which defeated Rochdale only after central defender Alan Sheehan passed a late test on a damaged thigh, reflected on the result and City’s start to the campaign.

The manager, with his budget cut from last season, has brought in 11 new players and jettisoned 10 in the summer, so he is satisfied with the overall start.

“We were well below the standards we have set ourselves for the season,” admitted the Bantams manager, who had Felipe Morais ruled out by a thigh problem sustained in training and had Matthew Dolan injured in the pre-match warm-up, though he took his place on the bench.

“Conceding the two goals in the manner we did gave Yeovil a huge lift. We just did not have the energy or the spark in our play to mount a real challenge. That was a shame because we have had a terrific start to the season. Our decision-making on the ball was ponderous, we weren’t sharp in possession.

“It looked a game too far with the run we have had. Even the lads we rested on Tuesday lacked a sharpness in their games.

“We have to regroup, dust ourselves down and come out fighting for the next game. We were nowhere near how we can play.

“We have been good at defending set-plays over the years, but (on Saturday) we weren’t. If we are honest they were the better team in both boxes.”

On the subject of loans, Parkinson continued: “We need to look at the lads who got the knocks and Mason (striker Bennett) got a whack and then there’s Felipe, Matty Dolan and Alan Sheehan we need to look at on Monday before we decide what we are going to do.

“We have to be sensible with the lads in training this week. We do need a breather and with the injuries we have got now we will have to sit down and make a decision (over loan moves).”

After uplifting victories in the League Cup against Leeds United and in League One at Rochdale – they made five changes for the midweek JP Trophy defeat at Oldham – City were given a reality check by Yeovil.

The impressive diamond-shaped midfield system installed by Parkinson failed to function, Billy Knott at its base and Billy Clarke at its top end lacking their normal sharpness with Gary Liddle and Jason Kennedy making little impression out wide.

Broken-arm victim Andrew Davies was also missed at the back as he surely would not have allowed Yeovil centre-back Aaron Martin the time and space to thump home two headers from set pieces which saw City trail 2-0 inside 22 minutes.

It was the first time Martin had scored twice in a match and were his first goals in four years. He proved to be man of the match because he also snuffed out the threat of five-goal City striker James Hanson although it was surprising his grappling tactics failed to incur the displeasure of referee Geoff Eltringham.

With Hanson subdued, City seemed to lack a Plan B and continued to pump the ball forward to the ever-willing striker, who also nodded through substitute Aaron Mclean a minute from time only for goalkeeper Chris Weale to smother the chance at the substitute’s feet. By then, however, the points were deservedly heading to Yeovil, who were not knocked out of their stride by Rory McArdle’s 26th-minute header from Sheehan’s corner.

It should have been the signal for a City onslaught and they did press until the break.

After it, however, their bid to score an equaliser was tepid and the game was up in the 72nd minute when Jack Price raced in from the left and cut the ball back for striker Ajay Leitch-Smith to fire into the roof of the net from just inside the area.

The visitors were fully behind manager Gary Johnson, who played down his bust-up with the board over being unable to bring in two Premier League loan players on transfer deadline day, but who made his point by fielding only six substitutes as he claimed there was no one else available.

“We felt it was a deserved win,” said Johnson.

““We didn’t nick three goals because we also created other chances.

“We haven’t a problem coming down from the Championship because the boys are good competitors.

“But they have to learn from our management style, our relentlessness, which some will cope with while others won’t.

“They showed desire and passion and will to win (at Bradford) – something we were perhaps lacking originally.”