Wigan Athletic v Bradford City: Bantams manager Phil Parkinson adopting level-headed approach

BIG DOUBT: Bradford City flank player Tony McMahon damaged his hamstring in the victory over Doncaster. Picture: Tony Johnson
BIG DOUBT: Bradford City flank player Tony McMahon damaged his hamstring in the victory over Doncaster. Picture: Tony Johnson
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PHIL PARKINSON believes calm heads will be the key to success in the League One promotion race.

With 10 games to play, just seven points separate Millwall in fifth place from Sheffield United in 11th.

Scunthorpe United, currently sitting in the lower half of the table, are just a point worse off than the Blades to underline how concertinaed the table has become in recent weeks.

Bradford City are handily placed in the final play-off place thanks to five wins from their last eight outings but face a tough assignment today at second-placed Wigan Athletic.

Parkinson said: “We have got ourselves in a useful position but there is still a lot of football still to play and a lot of hard work still to do. We just need to keep our feet on the ground and not get too carried away.

“Sometimes in football, when you lose there is all sorts of doom and gloom around with even talk of relegation. Then, if you win, all the talk is of promotion and doing this, that and the other.

“As a manager, my job is to keep everyone level-headed and focused on their jobs. I tell the players, ‘Just concentrate on what we can control and leave the rest to others’.

“The good thing is we have an experienced camp and good characters in it who don’t get too carried away. That can only help.”

Tony McMahon is a major doubt for the Bantams after suffering a hamstring injury in last weekend’s win over Doncaster Rovers.

Josh Cullen will also have to be assessed after playing for West Ham Under-21s in midweek as part of his loan switch and tweaking his calf.

Both will be given as long as possible to recover by Parkinson ahead of his side taking on a host club who still benefit from parachute payments thanks to having only dropped out of the Premier League in 2013.

“Wigan have built up a good bit of momentum and are unbeaten in quite a long time,” said the City chief. “Having the extra income (from parachute payments) is a big advantage and they have spent a lot of money in bringing a lot of quality in their squad.

“Sometimes, expectation can weigh you down in that situation but they have been coping well recently. Now, though, the final 10 games are upon us and there will be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season.”

Last six games: Wigan Athletic DWWDDD, Bradford City DWLDWW.

Referee: D Deadman (Cambridgeshire).

Last time: Wigan Athletic 0 Bradford City 0; October 30, 2012; League Cup.