Cobblers test is taking priority over Gunners

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ALL talk of next month’s glamour League Cup tie with Arsenal has been banned among Bradford City’s players as Phil Parkinson calls on his side to maintain their push for success.

The Bantams were rewarded for knocking out Premier League Wigan Athletic in the Capital One Cup fourth round with a home encounter against the Gunners.

Understandably, such a tie has caused huge excitement around Valley Parade with the attraction of the quarter-final being such that Sky have selected the game for live coverage on December 11.

Manager Parkinson was as proud as anyone on Tuesday night at seeing his team bridge a 59-place gap in the football pyramid. He was equally happy to allow his squad to bask in their achievement in the immediate aftermath of the penalty shoot-out win.

However, with attention today turning to the FA Cup, and with an important League Two game with Chesterfield to follow on Tuesday, City’s chief is determined that there will be no distractions for his squad.

He said: “The past few days have been great for the club but now it is back down to business. There is a lot of football to be played between now and the Arsenal game so we have banned all talk about it until the week of the quarter-finals.

“We took the players away to a health club on Thursday. That was planned anyway, as we’ve had a gruelling schedule of late and we wanted to put some energy back into the lads’ legs.

“Northampton will be tough. We played them recently so know what to expect and that is a physical game.

“They beat Port Vale the week after we won there so that shows how dangerous the club can be.

“We need to be committed and disciplined, and to take what we have been putting in on the training field into the game.”

City travel to Northampton just 11 days after claiming a 1-0 win at Sixfields Stadium in the league.

Andrew Davies and Luke Oliver both miss the trip through injury and with the two defenders out until the New Year and next season, respectively, Parkinson is eyeing a loan replacement.

However, with clubs unlikely to loan out a player and then allow him to be cup-tied, Parkinson decided that any move for a 
defender could wait until after today’s first-round encounter with the Cobblers.