Shrewsbury Town v Bradford City: Phil Parkinson is keeping his Bantams focused

Phil Parkinson's Bradford City side are fighting for both automatic promotion and to stay in the play-off positions (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Phil Parkinson's Bradford City side are fighting for both automatic promotion and to stay in the play-off positions (Picture: Tony Johnson).
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SIX points off automatic promotion and five clear of the play-off chasing pack, Bradford City fans could be forgiven for not knowing which way to look right now.

The Bantams are enjoying a stunning run of form, their last seven games having yielded 18 points in a climb to fourth place.

Next up is a double-header on the road at Shrewsbury Town today and Coventry City on Tuesday, two fixtures that will surely go a long way towards deciding whether the final couple of weeks of the regular campaign will be spent trying to reel in second-placed Burton Albion or fighting off the challenge of Barnsley in the quest for a top-six berth.

Ask manager Phil Parkinson, however, about whether he is looking up or down the table at the moment and he has a blunt reply.

“Neither,” begins his initial response to The Yorkshire Post’s enquiry about where City’s eyes are drawn to in the table. “We are not looking up or down.

“Instead, it is all about focusing on ourselves, that is the honest truth. We can’t affect anything but our own result.

“The key is keeping our feet on the ground and I feel the players are experienced enough to realise that. We can’t allow ourselves to get distracted by anything but playing well and getting the right result.

“This game will be like every other this season, very tight. That is why we can’t afford to focus on anything but how we perform.”

Last week’s home win over Swindon Town was the Bantams’ fourth 1-0 triumph in a row. It also briefly took Bradford up to third, only for Walsall to leapfrog the Yorkshire club with a victory over Gillingham on Tuesday night. Parkinson was present at Priestfield.

Barnsley also won on Tuesday at home to Oldham Athletic to further concertina the table and ensure that none of the top six can rest on their laurels during the run-in. Not that this was ever going to happen at Valley Parade.

“The mood in the camp is excellent,” said Parkinson. “The lads seem to be in a good place. Obviously, everyone is pleased with our recent performances and results, but our sole focus is carrying it on.

“Shrewsbury had a decent run not so long ago, but have lost their last two to get sucked back in. It will be a tough game because they have some decent players and went on a decent FA Cup run.

“We have to respect that, but, equally, there could be an element of nervousness around the place because of their league position.”