Trust is rewarded as City get back in shape

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PHIL PARKINSON has no worries about Bradford City suffering from burnout following their shorter than usual summer break because of the play-offs.

The Bantams’ marathon 2012-13 campaign only ended on May 18, when a 3-0 victory over Northampton Town at Wembley was enough to clinch promotion.

With the start of the new season having been brought forward a week by a vote by member League clubs, that left Bradford’s squad with just a short break before having to return for pre-season.

Parkinson said: “The play-offs bring an extra challenge, just because of the time factor. It gave us a totally different off season to a year ago, when we got a much longer break.

“It was important we gave the lads as long as possible, from a mental angle. Last season was long and hard. And we needed them to come back feeling fresh.

“We gave the lads as much time off as possible and didn’t come back until July 1, which was a bit after most teams. But we thought it was the best thing to do.

“They had all had off-season programmes anyway, which had been monitored by Nick (Allamby, fitness coach). They all came back in really good shape, which is great as there was an element of trust in giving everyone extra time off.”

City’s success last season – they also reached the Capital One Cup final – led to fans clamouring for season tickets to such an extent that the club have sold their highest total since being in the Premier League.

In total, Bradford sold 12,750 season tickets – a total that includes flexicard holders – and Parkinson is desperate to reward that support with another memorable year.

Ahead of today’s opener against Bristol City, the Bantams chief said: “It was great to see what our success meant to the people of Bradford. Some of the letters and messages I have had are great.

“This club is very close to the heart of the city. I have felt that ever since I arrived and I want to keep the club going forward.

“The open-top bus round Bradford (after winning the play-offs) was immense. When you set off, you never quite know how many will turn up. The whole city came out to support us and the lads loved it. That was their reward for a lot of hard work.”