AFTER the euphoria of beating Chelsea in one of the FA Cup’s all-time greatest upsets a week ago, Bradford City’s focus returns to more mundane matters and the visit of Colchester United.
Not that Phil Parkinson, of course, sees it like that. “This game is every bit, if not more, important than Chelsea,” said the Bantams manager.
“Last week was great and everyone enjoyed the praise that came our way afterwards but this is what the season is all about, the league.”
While Bradford were stunning Jose Mourinho and his £200m side, the Yorkshire club actually slipped a place to seventh in League One following Fleetwood Town’s win over Crawley Town.
City fell another place in midweek as Chesterfield beat Crawley, underlining the importance of today’s encounter with Parkinson’s old club.
He said: “It is important we get our focus back on the league. It has been great for the lads to enjoy what happened at Chelsea but we made sure our minds turned back to Colchester quickly.
“You can usually tell in training if things are right and for the past three days training has been good.”
Parkinson is an old hand at ensuring Cup progress goes hand in hand with success in the league.
Two years ago, he achieved the notable double of taking Bradford to Wembley in the League Cup final and then returning three months later to win promotion via the play-offs.
At Colchester, he led the U’s out of League One in the same season as the Essex club battled through to the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they were beaten by Mourinho’s Chelsea.
Parkinson, who will restore Jordan Pickford to the starting XI in goal due to it being a league game, said: “The players are confident, as they should be after last week. But we need to get wins on the board in the league. We beat Chelsea through team-work and we will need that again against Colchester.
“We are looking forward to getting back in front of our fans. A lot of them were unable to go to London so this is our chance to give them something to cheer.”
Meanwhile, City’s fifth-round tie at home to either Sunderland or Fulham will go ahead on Sunday February 15 to avoid a clash with Leeds United’s Championship game with Millwall a day earlier. The kick-off will be 2.30pm.
As a result, the league trip to Leyton Orient scheduled for Tuesday, February 17 has been put back 24 hours.