PHIL PARKINSON admits that his Bradford City side are surprising even him these days.
The Bantams continue to prosper on four fronts following the dramatic midweek penalty shoot-out FA Cup win over Northampton Town.
In seeing off the Cobblers despite being down to 10 men for the entire second period of extra-time, City continued their trend of overcoming the odds in this most draining of campaigns.
On a squad that will play their 25th game of 2012-13 today when Exeter City come to Valley Parade, Parkinson said: “They are putting in tremendous effort and deserve all the praise that comes their way. But we can’t ease up as Exeter will be tough opponents.
“The lads surprise even me, sometimes. The character they have shown, not just on Tuesday but all season, has been great. They are like that every day in training, too.
“The squad has a real will to win and that shone through against Northampton. No game is ever lost until the final whistle and this group understands that.
“I can’t praise the lads enough for how they keep going. For 120 minutes and down to 10 men, they kept fighting and got their rewards in the end.
“The confidence running through the lads is shown by how well they have done in penalty shoot-outs. We have been in that position a few times now and always stepped up to the plate.”
The loss to injury of James Meredith and Zavon Hines in midweek has further stretched Bradford’s resources to the limit.
Parkinson’s attempts to strengthen ahead of today’s match last night paid dividend when City snapped up Derby County defender Tom Naylor on loan.
The 21-year-old right-back moved to Pride Park last season from Conference outfit Mansfield Town and has made eight appearances for the Rams.
Only one of those, however, has come this season and Naylor, whose loan runs until January 12, goes straight into the squad as cover for Stephen Darby.
Fans paying full price for today’s game are reminded to keep their match ticket stubs as vouchers to claim a seat at the Capital One Cup quarter-final with Arsenal. From Wednesday, they can buy one ticket per voucher – subject to availability.