Bradford v Preston: Bantams are lifted for their ‘Battle of Roses’

AFTER a weekend that brought fresh hope to Bradford City’s play-off challenge, manager Phil Parkinson has urged his players to ignore their rivals for the top six and focus only on beating Preston North End.

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson (Picture: James Hardisty).

Defeats for Rochdale, Peterborough and Barnsley combined with the Bantams’ derby triumph over Doncaster on Good Friday gave the West Yorkshire club a major boost.

Even Chesterfield’s win at Yeovil, a result that kept Paul Cook’s men in the final play-off place, could not take the gloss off a set of results that left Bradford in seventh.

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City have a game in hand on the Spireites and boast an identical goal difference, meaning if Parkinson’s men win their final seven games then a place in the top six is surely going to be theirs for the taking.

Not, of course, that it will be easy, with in-form Preston not having lost in 12 league games as they head to play at Valley Parade today.

Parkinson said: “Preston is a huge game.

“We said ahead of Doncaster that we can’t ask for too much more than our two fixtures over Easter, a derby fixture and then a ‘Battle of the Roses’.

“When we are sitting at home in the summer, these are the weekends that we want to remember as the ones where we got the points.

“We have started Easter well, but now we have the chance to go again on Easter Monday.

“We just have to take care of ourselves. I didn’t even talk about the other results when we got to the Doncaster match.”

Mark Yeates is a doubt after being substituted on Friday with a dislocated shoulder.

Last six games: Bradford City DLDWLW, Preston North End WWWDDW.

Referee: M Heywood (Cheshire).

Last time: Bradford City 0 Preston North End 0; January 28, 2014; League One.