Bantams look in strong position to mount challenge for promotion

Phil Parkinson
Phil Parkinson
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JULIAN RHODES last night 
insisted Bradford City will go into the new year in their strongest position since he joined the board during the Nineties.

The Bantams are enjoying a fine season with Phil Parkinson’s side riding high in League Two and also through to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup, where they will face Aston Villa over two legs.

Bradford also face a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area semi-final at Crewe Alexandra in between those two ties against Villa, which will take place on Tuesday, January 8 at Valley Parade and Villa Park a fortnight later. Both games will be televised live by Sky, earning City around £320,000 in fees.

Joint chairman Rhodes said: “Our main goal is promotion but the cups are now going to generate serious amounts of money and that is great news for the club, as it means we can not only keep our best players in January but also support Phil in the transfer market.”

City travel to Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow for their third long trip of the week after last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Southend United was followed by FA Cup second-round replay defeat to Brentford after extra-time.

Rhodes, who joined the Bantams’ board in July 1997, said: “The club is in a very strong position, definitely the strongest in my time .

“Our ongoing commitments in terms of rent and so on are affordable, even in League Two. Obviously, the higher we get then the smaller the rent becomes as part of our income.

“That is why promotion is so important, not only to the standing of the club but also the finances. That is why we decided to have a crack in the summer and give Phil a competitive budget.”

On facing Villa as the first team from the basement to reach the last four of the League Cup since Wycombe Wanderers in 2007, Rhodes added: “It is the best possible draw for us.

“We wanted to be at home as, let’s not forget, we are massive underdogs and don’t want the tie to be over after the first leg.

“As a club, we also want to maximise revenue and Villa Park is twice the size of Swansea’s stadium and similar to Stamford Bridge.”