MANAGER Phil Parkinson insists a positive summer can help Bradford City bridge the gap between the play-offs and the top two places in League One next season.
The Bantams’ hopes of returning to the second tier of English football for the first time since 2004 were ended by a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Millwall.
It meant a disappointing end to a season that had included many highs for City and Parkinson admitted the away dressing room was a quiet one at the final whistle.
But, he also insists that there is plenty to build on for the club ahead of next season.
“I can’t fault the lads’ effort over the season,” said Parkinson. “They gave me everything.
“What cost us is the first 45 minutes at home. On Sunday, we weren’t strong enough in our own box. It was very unlike us, but that is where games are won and lost.
“We gave everything we could, even when a goal down we kept going forward. But Millwall are good at sitting once in front.
“They were tough to break down. This is a tough place to come, the atmosphere was bouncing. We fell behind, but got the equaliser.
“It is disappointing not to make it through, but now our challenge is to look to bridge the gap between the play-offs and the top two. We can do it.”
The final whistle to signal Millwall had reached the final was followed by a mass pitch invasion.
It came after the closing stages had seen several home fans stray on to the field while the game was on, one interloper even going so far as to kick the ball before it had gone out.
City’s players had sensibly been ushered towards the main stand touchline by referee Tim Robinson before the final whistle blew, action that ensured no one came to harm amid the melee.
Asked about the scenes, Parkinson added: “You saw some of the scenes on the pitch, supporters running on and one came on and kicked the ball while the game was in play.
“Our supporters deserve credit for not reacting. Their conduct has been really good all season, they are a credit to the city of Bradford.”