Cup run quickly forgotten as Bantams switch focus to reaching the play-offs

PHIL PARKINSON insists Bradford City are ready for the challenge of kick-starting their push for the play-offs.

The Bantams, beaten by Swansea City in Sunday’s Capital One Cup final, have fallen off the pace in recent weeks courtesy of an eight-game run that has yielded just five points.

However, the focus has returned to League Two and tonight’s visit of Dagenham & Redbridge, who were stunned by yesterday’s departure of manager John Still after he switched to non-league Luton Town.

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Parkinson said: “We have 15 games to go and a large chunk of the season. The lads are really looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait for the Dagenham game to come round.

“They have taken on every challenge that has been put in their way this season and now we have another big one.

“The good thing is we can now focus 100 per cent on the league. A lot of the managers have been able to say that since December but, in our case, it has taken until the end of February.

“But now it is here, we are ready for the challenge. The schedule is heavy with a lot of midweek games, but we are used to that from earlier in the season.

“We had a good night on Sunday with the lads able to spend time with their families. But then we came in (yesterday) and training was excellent.”

City will be without Matt Duke through suspension and Ryan Dickson, who was yesterday ruled out for up to six months with an ankle problem.

Parkinson added: “It is a bit of a mystery. Ryan’s had a long-standing problem and went to see a specialist. Unfortunately, he needs an operation and could be out for six months.”

Last six games: Bradford City LDLWLL, Dagenham & Redbridge LLDWLL.

Last time: Bradford City 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 1; August 20, 2011; League Two.

Referee: C Sarginson (Staffordshire).