Parkinson rotating Bantams through gruelling schedule

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THE fixtures just keep on coming for Bradford City.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Northampton Town in the FA Cup first round means the Bantams are on course to play 55 games this term, their highest tally since 1995-96.

That is presuming Phil Parkinson’s men lose the Cup replay to the Cobblers a week tonight and then also bow out of the Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy next month.

If City get through in any of the three domestic cup competitions or qualify for the play-offs, then the chances are that they will pass the 58 games that the club played in the season they won promotion under Chris Kamara by beating Notts County at Wembley.

No wonder, therefore, that Parkinson is determined to keep rotating his troops as City prepare to face Chesterfield tonight.

He said: “We are playing a lot of games at the moment so it is important that we keep chopping and changing our personnel.

“There is no way everyone can play every game, not with the schedule we have.

“The key is keeping everyone fresh, though of course it helps that we are on a decent run in both the Cups and the league.

“It will also be nice to be back at Valley Parade after having so many away games recently.”

City will be boosted tonight by the availability of defender John Egan, who trained with his team-mates yesterday for the first time after joining on loan from Sunderland.

The 20-year-old, watched by Parkinson in a reserve game last Thursday, has been drafted in 
after Luke Oliver and Andrew Davies were ruled out long-term.

Parkinson said: “We needed another defender in the club after what happened to Luke and Andrew Davies.

“John is a young lad who is a very competitive player and I expect him to fit right in.

We were quite well off for central defenders until the Burton game so I wouldn’t say we’d been actively looking for a new face.

“But John is someone who I have known about for a while and it is great to have him in the squad.”

With the replay against Aidy Boothroyd’s Cobblers taking place a week tonight, the Bantams will be in action on 11 of 13 consecutive Tuesdays before finally getting a rest in the last week before Christmas.

Tired legs, however, are not Parkinson’s focus with the City manager instead warning his side they will need to be at their best tonight against a Chesterfield outfit fresh from thrashing League One Hartlepool United 6-1 in the Cup.

He added: “Chesterfield obviously got a great result on Saturday and they also have a new manager. I am sure it will be a decent game ”

Last six games: Bradford City DWWLDD, Chesterfield LLWLLW.

Last time: Bradford City 0 Chesterfield 1; February 22, 2011; League Two.

Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire).