BRADFORD manager Phil Parkinson has condemned a challenge by Sheffield United midfielder Michael Doyle that could have ruled winger Jamie Devitt out of today’s FA Cup tie with Rochdale.
Parkinson felt Doyle was lucky to escape punishment from referee Mark Haywood after allegedly stamping on Devitt’s ankle near the end of Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory at Bramall Lane.
“It was a blatant stamp. If that was in a higher profile game in the Premier League I think he would be in big trouble,” said Parkinson. “I was disappointed in their lad for doing it because Jamie could have had a serious injury.”
Devitt has branded the tackle a “joke” on Twitter and expressed relief that he did not suffer a fracture.
Parkinson, meanwhile, has urged his side to repeat Tuesday night’s performance in today’s game.
“If we can reproduce Tuesday’s performance it will give us a good chance against another League One side,” he said. “Rochdale have done very well over the last few years to get up and stay there last season. But to get through against a First Division side, we showed the capabilities we have within our team and squad.”
Parkinson stressed the importance of further progress in the FA Cup, saying: “We have to go into every game with a focus on winning. To get into the next round would obviously be a great thing for the football club. One of the goals in these early rounds is to try and get into that third round draw.
“Obviously that is looking one round ahead but at that stage things can hopefully become very lucrative for the club if you get a good draw. That sort of thing can help us when it comes to rebuilding the squad.”
Rochdale are currently struggling at the wrong end of the League One table but their manager, Steve Eyre, who has gone seven games without a victory, insists that the FA Cup is not a distraction from the pressures of the league.
“I don’t see it as a distraction, I see it as an interesting challenge,” he said. “I’m waiting to use the phrase ‘I’m proud of my players’ on a winning evening or Saturday.
“They are at the bottom end of their division – and they’ll expect to climb it like we do – but on the day anything can happen.”