Why simply staying alive can be counted as success

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PHIL PARKINSON has dedicated Bradford City’s first manager of the month award since 2004 to everyone at Valley Parade.

The Bantams chief picked up the accolade for an impressive December that saw his side claim three straight wins, a draw at home to Plymouth Argyle and earn a place in the FA Cup third round.

It means Parkinson, who takes his team to Watford today, is the first City manager since Colin Todd to receive official recognition.

The City manager, who has won previous awards when in charge of Colchester United and Charlton Athletic, said: “I see the award as a team award and something for everyone to share in.

“It is testament to the hard work of the players, the two chairmen, the supporters and everyone who works behind the scenes.

“The award is an accolade that is richly deserved for all those people as they have worked very hard. It also shows the progress we are making as a club.

“We got some important points on the board in December.”

City’s focus today switches from the fight for Football League survival to the FA Cup as the club makes its first appearance in the third round since 2004, when they qualified automatically due to being in the second tier.

Victories over Rochdale and AFC Wimbledon earned Bradford a trip to Watford, a tie that Parkinson admits is not as mouth-watering as the club were hoping to be handed.

However, he added: “The players are looking forward to it. Away from the league campaign, it is a chance to test ourselves against opposition from a higher level.

“The key thing for me when we were drawn against Watford at the start of last month was that we would go into the tie in a better position in the league. We have achieved that.

“It means we can travel to Watford in high spirits. We went down on Friday morning and trained at Arsenal, which was something the players were all looking forward to.

“We have to approach the game believing we can cause an upset. It is one of those ties where we have to be positive and try to take the game to Watford.

“Maybe it was not the ideal draw for the club. I am sure the chairmen would have wanted a big money-spinnner. But this is a tie we have to believe we can win.”