Parkinson confident of making late challenge

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Bradford City are understood to have offered Phil Parkinson a new contract in the wake of increased speculation about the Bantams’ manager.

Premier League Reading are the latest club linked to Parkinson, who led Bradford on an improbable journey to the Capital One Cup final last month.

Parkinson’s contract runs out at the end of the season.

On the pitch, the Bantams return to Devon today for the second time in five days, in need of points in the race for the the play-offs, a position they trail by nine points.

Parkinson’s side do, however, have games in hand on most of their rivals, while victory today at seventh-placed Exeter City would be a major boost to the Yorkshire club’s hopes of mounting a late challenge.

Parkinson said: “We still believe in ourselves. We were disappointed not to win on Tuesday (at Plymouth, who ground out a goalless draw) but that is gone now. It is a big game coming up against an Exeter side who were expected to challenge after coming down last season. They have had their ups and downs, wild fluctuations like anyone else. But they are in the play-off places now so this is a chance for us to make up some ground.”

City have three consecutive home games once today’s long trip is out of the way, and they also finish the season by taking on sides challenging for promotion in four of their last five games. Two arduous trips inside a few days are not ideal preparation and Parkinson, who made six changes for the goalless draw at Plymouth, is again ready to utilise his squad.

He said: “We have to use our squad well. My job is to make the judgement calls and this will be no different. It isn’t as if we lose anything by doing that as we have a good squad.

“Most partnerships are well formed by now because they have played together. That has to be the case by this stage of a season..”

City returned north on Wednesday morning and had Thursday off. Parkinson added: “We have done all we can to try and ease the pressure. We met at 11am (yesterday) and then travelled down to train at Bristol City. That was a big help, as it split the journey up.”