Ham and Parkinson will not let derby draw distract them

FC HALIFAX Town director Bobby Ham insists the club’s focus is on tonight’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay rather than a possible money-spinning derby with Bradford City.

Manager Phil Parkinson says his Bradford City side must concentrate on Doncaster in the league before thinking about the FA Cup and possibly facing neighbours Halifax (Picture: James Hardisty).
Manager Phil Parkinson says his Bradford City side must concentrate on Doncaster in the league before thinking about the FA Cup and possibly facing neighbours Halifax (Picture: James Hardisty).

Last night’s first-round draw paired the Bantams with the winners of the replay between the Shaymen and Conference North side Chorley.

If Halifax can get through, The Shay is likely to be packed to capacity for a derby that would also surely be on the radar of either the BBC or BT Sport for live broadcast. Last season, clubs shown live in the first round received a £67,500 fee.

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Ham, who had two spells with City in his playing career and also helped bring the club out of administration in 2004, said: “What a terrific incentive for both teams going into the replay.

“From a Halifax Town perspective, it would represent the dream tie. I would expect a full house if we were to play Bradford in the first round.

“On a personal level, it would also be very special for me as I had some good times at Bradford City.

“As exciting as the prospect of hosting Bradford is, though, we have got a replay to deal with. If we are not 100 per cent focused, we won’t get through. That is how football is.

“Saturday’s game was very even. Neither side deserved to win and neither side deserved to lose. So, we try again and we have to hope we can make home advantage pay.

“Football has a habit of kicking you in the teeth when you don’t expect it and we have to guard against that. The focus has to be entirely on Chorley and anything else can wait.

“The prospect of facing Bradford is a big incentive but it will be the same for Chorley. I am sure they would love to play Bradford just as much as us.”

For Bantams manager Phil Parkinson, the first-round draw means he will either face a derby on the weekend of November 7-9 or his hometown club.

He will be at The Shay tonight and said: “I was born in Chorley but we moved when I was three or four years old.

“But whether it is Chorley or Halifax, the draw is an intriguing one.

“Halifax couldn’t be much more local so, either way, it is going to be exciting to go to a non-League club in the first round.

“Regardless of who we play, it is going to provide a big challenge. We have been the underdogs plenty of times in the Cups in recent years, but the boot will be on the other foot with this tie.

“We will be ready to take on that challenge, though before that we do have a big league game to focus on. We can turn our attention to the Cup after that.”

Another League One side from Yorkshire who will travel to non-League opposition are Doncaster Rovers, who visit Weston-super-Mare.

The Conference South outfit beat Witham Town 2-1 to book their place in the first round proper and, like a potential Halifax-Bradford clash, the TV companies are likely to show interest in a tie that embodies the famous ‘romance of the Cup’.

Rovers, who have re-signed Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on loan, are fifth bottom of League One.

Elsewhere, Sheffield United have been handed an away tie for the fourth consecutive draw in all competitions as they take on Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road. The two clubs met just last Saturday, the Blades running out 1-0 winners thanks to Stefan Scougall’s goal.

Barnsley, meanwhile, host Burton Albion of League Two, while York City have been paired with AFC Wimbledon for the second time in three seasons.

The Minstermen have a poor record in knockout football since returning to the Football League, the club having won just one of 10 ties in all competitions.

The Dons beat York after a replay in 2012.