Bradford v Stevenage: Parkinson insists City must pull further away

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson.
Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson.
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Despite back-to-back victories in their last two home games, the ‘R’ word is still being mentioned in Phil Parkinson’s weekly pre-match briefings.

Those long overdue wins over Port Vale and MK Dons have left Bradford breathing a little easier and searching for a hat-trick of home wins against lowly Stevenage today.

But manager Parkinson remains wary of what a decline in standards could result in, regardless of the fact that the Bantams are nine points clear of the drop zone and closer in terms of positions to the top six than they are the bottom four.

“We want to keep the gap between us and the relegation zone as big as possible,” said Parkinson, who led Bradford to promotion last season.

“There’s been an enormous amount of work to get the club back to this league and we don’t want to relinquish that status.

“It was so important for us to get back to winning ways, especially at home. There is very little between the teams in this division and Stevenage will be scrapping for every ball and so must we.”

Bradford drew with Stevenage back in August, but much has changed since then, with the visitors plummeting to the foot of the table.

They arrive at Valley Parade six points adrift of safety with two games in hand and 15 fixtures left, and Parkinson is taking nothing for granted.

“I’ve seen Stevenage twice – I went to see them Tuesday at home to Crewe and I saw them at Rotherham when our game against Coventry was called off,” said City’s manager.

“They have changed their formation from game to game and during the game itself sometimes in recent weeks, so we have to be prepared for that.

“Because of their changes, we have to be flexible when it comes to our plans for Saturday’s game.

“We have to concentrate on playing to the best of our ability and doing what we know can do well.

“As we’ve said all season, there is very little to choose between the teams all across this division.

“With that in mind, we know it is going to be a difficult game, but it is one we are very much looking forward to.

“The lads have been training great and will be ready for it come Saturday.”