DEVOTION to the job saw Phil Parkinson this week spend the evening of his 48th birthday deep in the Chiltern Hills watching two non-League sides meet in an FA Trophy qualifying round replay.
Chesham, of the Southern Premier League, were the reason for the Bradford City manager’s long trip south on Tuesday night on a spying mission ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup second round tie at Valley Parade.
“It is always worthwhile to watch the team you are due to play next if the chance arises,” said Parkinson, whose side are more than 100 places higher than the Buckinghamshire minnows in the football pyramid.
“We’d had Chesham watched a couple of times already, but the first game against Frome finishing as a draw meant there was a replay and that gave me the chance to watch them.
“Chesham look a decent side, as you would expect of someone who beat Bristol Rovers in the last round.
“It was interesting to see the excitement that has been generated ahead of them coming to Bradford. I spoke to a few of their directors and they all spoke of how much they were looking forward to the game.
“A few of Chesham’s fans also came up for a chat and it was a little bit like we have felt a few times in the Cup when going to teams higher than ourselves.”
Bradford, of course, pulled off one of the great giant-killing acts of the Cup last season when defeating Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.
Parkinson’s men also beat Sunderland en route to losing to Reading in the quarter-finals, while Millwall of the Championship also found the Bantams too much to handle in a third-round encounter that went to a replay.
“We had some great times in the Cup last season and our target is simply to get into the third-round draw,” added Parkinson, who is likely to be without James Hanson today.
“I’d say it is one of the special days in the football calendar, the moment when all the Premier League and Championship sides come into the draw.
“We want to be in the hat on Monday night, but to do so we will have to be as professional as we were in the last round when beating Aldershot in a replay at home.”
Last six games: Bradford City DWWWD, Chesham WWLLDW.
Referee: S Duncan (Northumberland).
Last time: Never met.