Bradford eager to secure Parkinson on new long-term deal after Cup heroics

Bradford City Manager Phil Parkinson
Bradford City Manager Phil Parkinson
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BRADFORD CITY joint-chairman Mark Lawn has reiterated the club’s desire to keep boss Phil Parkinson and his management team together – in the wake of the Bantams’ sensational Capital One Cup exploits against Aston Villa.

Parkinson’s managerial star is on the rise after taking City to within 90 minutes of a historic final appearance at Wembley, a very real possibility after their 3-1 first-leg win over Villa in their last-four clash.

The former Hull City and Charlton Athletic boss, 45, whose current contract runs out this summer, is hoping to sign a new deal and secure his future and revealed his intentions to the board late last week.

Despite the willingness of all parties to reach agreement, a new contract, as yet, has not been finalised, with Parkinson’s contractual situation understood to have alerted other clubs.

After initial discussions, Lawn says the club are now expecting to hear back from Parkinson, who signed a two-year contract when he took over in August 2011.

While hopeful that fresh terms will be agreed with Parkinson and his staff, the club will not be presumptuous regarding his future, according to Lawn.

Lawn said: “We had a little natter with Phil last Thursday and we said we want him to stay and he said he wanted to. So we said: ‘Right, go away and come back with some numbers (figures).’

“We are now expecting him to get back to us. We do not just want Phil, but his whole team and we will have a chat with Steve Parkin, fitness coach Nick Allamby and the physios because we would like to make sure we keep the whole team together.

“We want it to happen, although the thing in football is that you never know what is going to happen.”

Lawn and thousands of Bantams supporters are still basking in the glow of Tuesday night’s result against Villa, which he feels surpassed their feats against Arsenal in the last eight when they won on penalties.

City, who yesterday signed much-travelled striker Andy Gray from neighbours Leeds United on an 18-month deal, went into that tie with little or no expectation on their shoulders, with few if anyone expecting an upset.

But given that pre-Christmas toppling of the Londoners, which had followed a shoot-out victory over Wigan in the previous round, Parkinson’s troops had significantly raised the hopes of fans ahead of the clash with Villa, whose form has been spasmodic.

City took the extra pressure firmly in their stride, to the immense satisfaction of Lawn, who hailed Tuesday’s events as another major positive for the city of Bradford, which has endured plenty of negative headlines in recent years.

Lawn was particularly delighted a significant number of Asian football fans supported City among the bumper 22,245 crowd and is hoping a good number return in the coming months to back their promotion quest.

On another unforgettable night, he said: “It actually felt a little bit more special as there was a bit more pressure on everybody. It seems stupid saying that with us, as a fourth division side, having that expectation against a Premier League team.

“But we played really well. We took a bit of a battering at times, but you would expect that playing against a Premier League side.

“They had all their big stars out. I spoke to Doug Ellis and he asked me how much our side cost and I said: ‘Seven-and-a-half thousand pounds and a friendly!

“We deserved to be two goals up. We were a bit disappointed with the away goal, but we got another and I would rather be in our position than Villa’s.

“But I am realistic. We will be going to a Premier League side at their ground and there will be 40,000 fans there. Realistically, they could easily score two goals, although I do not want to take any tarnish off what the lads did on Tuesday. And if they get put in a similar performance, who knows.

“The city has taken a real battering over the past few years with some bad decisions that have been made and our run and Bradford City in general have raised the profile and given everyone a bit of a feel-good factor, which is great for the city.

“It was also nice to see a lot of Asian supporters turn up. I hope a few more come to the less high-profile games such as against Oxford on Saturday.”