Home form and past experiences strengthen Bradford City’s belief

Bantams manager Phil Parkinson.
Bantams manager Phil Parkinson.
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PHIL PARKINSON believes that a daunting-looking play-off semi-final second-leg appointment at Millwall should hold no inner demons for Bradford City.

A penalty in the eighth minute of stoppage-time on Sunday from Sheffield-born Lee Gregory ensured the Lions will have home advantage on Friday week against the Bantams after a 2-1 win at Gillingham, as they finished fourth in League One.

Despite the late twist, Bradford – who welcome Millwall in the first leg on Sunday – should relish the challenge that awaits them in the second leg at the hosts’ notoriously partisan New Den citadel, according to Parkinson.

He said: “Going down to the (New) Den for that second leg suits the character of myself and Steve (Parkin), the management team, and the group of players we have got.

“Everybody has got to go down there when it comes and make sure we put in a great performance at home and relish the challenge.”

City head into Sunday’s game in an outstanding vein of home form, having equalled a 48-year-old league record in their 2-0 win over Chesterfield, their seventh win on the trot at home at Valley Parade – something previously achieved in January 1968.

Resisting the temptation to make wholesale changes in order to maintain momentum for the play-offs also reaped dividends, in the view of the Bantams chief.

He said: “We had a chat about the final game. You look back a few years ago, when we went to Cheltenham (in 2012-13) and drew 0-0. We rested a lot of players and when they came back in the team for the Burton first leg, they were not quite on it.

“We wanted to play as many regulars as possible (on Sunday). You cannot beat playing well.

“I said to the lads that in all my experience as a manager and a player, you cannot turn it on hot and cold.”