Bradford’s hopes of keeping Parkinson are improving

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Bradford City remain confident they can keep Phil Parkinson at the club despite increased interest in the Bantams’ manager.

Championship side Blackpool, who yesterday lost Michael Appleton to Blackburn, made a tentative enquiry about the availability of Parkinson, whose contract at Valley Parade expires in the summer.

But City fans will be buoyed by last night’s reports that their club’s boss has turned down the opportunity to talk to Blackpool.

The Bantams’ board have opened negotiations with Parkinson over an extended deal, with their desire to keep him heightened by the events of the past week when Bradford defeated Aston Villa 3-1 to move to within 90 minutes of the Capital One League Cup final.

That victory, coupled with the humbling of Arsenal in December, has elevated the standing of both Bradford and, in particular, Parkinson in national thinking.

Hence the interest from Blackpool, whose chairman Karl Oyston is understood to have contacted Bradford and a number of other clubs about the availability of their managers.

Former Doncaster boss Sean O’Driscoll – who last weekend turned down the Barnsley post – is also believed to be high up on Oyston’s wish list.

Blackpool may have been rebuffed, but Bradford are keen to get Parkinson signed up for an extended stay as quickly as possible.

He told the board more than a week ago that he wanted a new contract, and although both parties are headed in the same direction, a deal has yet to be struck. Bradford’s joint-chairman Mark Lawn said: “There’s bound to be some clubs interested in Phil. But Phil has told us he wants to stay.

“We are currently in negotiations with him and his whole backroom team (assistant Steve Parkin, fitness coach Nick Allamby and the physiotherapists).

“What Phil wants to do is up to him, but he’s told me he wants to stay. Having said that, I’m not naive, I know that things change in football.”

As has been evident this week in particular, managerial changes happen quickly.

Doncaster were approached by Wolves last Saturday night to speak to their Dean Saunders and within 24 hours he had joined the Championship club.

Appleton last night crossed Lancashire to join Blackburn just a day after their approach to speak to him was accepted by Blackpool.

Encouragingly for Bantams fans, who are revelling in the club’s upward trajectory under Parkinson, the former Hull and Charlton boss has indicated his desire to stay at a club that, as well as being on the cusp of a historic League Cup final are also in the promotion hunt from League Two and the Northern Area semi-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint trophy.

Speaking earlier this week, Parkinson said: “I’d really like to stay at Bradford. I’m enjoying it here, it’s a great club and we’re starting to build something.

“Myself and the staff feel that if we can get this club going we can really take off and we’re just at the start of that.

“It’s important to get (the contract issue) resolved sooner rather than later because we want to bring players in, and we have a lot of players out of contract.”

Bradford have signed 26-year-old Southampton left-back Ryan Dickson on loan until the end of the season.