Gillingham v Bradford City: Bantams aim to banish hurt of derby defeat

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson looks on with dismay during the defeat at Sheffield United (Picture: Philip Oldham/SportImage').

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson looks on with dismay during the defeat at Sheffield United (Picture: Philip Oldham/SportImage').

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THERE were plenty of long faces at training this week as Bradford City were forced to beg and borrow facilities following the flooding of their Appleby Bridge headquarters.

It was not, though, the inconvenience of having to forego their usual base that left the players downbeat but City’s derby defeat at Sheffield United.

In front of a bumper crowd, the Bantams slipped to a 3-1 loss that left manager Phil Parkinson bemoaning the disappointing manner of his side’s display in a 20 or 25-minute period after half-time.

The loss to the Blades puts extra pressure on today’s trip to Gillingham, as City make their longest trip of the season knowing that another defeat could inflict serious damage to their aspirations of gatecrashing the top six.

“The table can change very quickly,” said an upbeat Parkinson.

“This weekend, Sheffield United and Peterborough play each other so if we can get a positive result from Gillingham then we can make ground on at least one of the teams just above us in the league.

“Everyone was a bit down after Monday. I could see it at training. But I was pleased with that. I don’t want us to accept whatever comes our way. If we lose a game, especially against a local rival, I want it to hurt.

“And I want to see a response against Gillingham. They are having a good season so this is a good game to go into.

“We had a disappointing spell after half-time on Monday but there were plenty of other good things in our game. We could have got back into it late. We got a goal and also hit the post. If that had gone in, things could have been different.”

Victory today in Kent would be the perfect end to an often difficult holiday period for Bradford, which included the postponement of the Boxing Day game with Burton Albion and the flooding of Apperley Bridge.

“The 4G pitch is going to be out of action for a long time,” said Parkinson about the club’s training ground. “It is totally ruined and will need ripping up. The grass pitches are covered in debris and silt at the moment so all that needs clearing.

“We have been to use a 3G pitch in Menston, while Bradford Academy School have also helped us out by letting us use their facilities. It has meant we have managed the situation well this week, though obviously we would love to be able to train on grass.”

Josh Morris is back in the squad after an extended absence through injury but Steven Davies remains on the sidelines.

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