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Parkinson delighted by Play-Off prize

20 April 2013

City boss Phil Parkinson was understandably thrilled to see his side secure a League 2 Play-Off berth this Saturday thanks to the home win over Burton Albion.

James Hanson's thirteenth goal of the season just before half-time was enough to pick up a vital victory for Parkinson's men and, coupled with a defeat for Exeter City by Cheltenham Town, guarantee City a Play-Off spot with a game to spare.

The victory for City against Burton, who saw skipper Lee Bell dismissed for a stray arm on Zavon Hines in first half injury time, was the fourth in their last sixth games.

After a campaign already full of excitement and drama, including the club's famous trip to Wembley for the Capital One Cup Final, Parkinson had nothing but praise for his players following another brilliant achievement in a landmark season for the club.

Parkinson admitted: "I'm ecstatic.

"It is a great achievement. If you look back at the Wembley game (Capital One Cup Final), the Arsenal game and the Villa games and what that took out of the players mentally and physically, it shows you what an enormous achievement this is by the lads.

"After all the games we have played this season, we still have players playing at the top of their game, and that is an massive credit to them.

"This is stage one completed for us, and the lads deserve to celebrate this tonight.

"In my mind, I was prepared for it to go to the last week of the season because I felt there was a good chance Exeter would get some sort of result today. 

"I fancied us to win today but I always thought it would go to the last game.

"The fact that we have secured it now means we can have a good week to ten days to prepare properly for these Play-Offs.

"A supporter shouted to me about a minute to go towards the end that Exeter were losing but I didn't know quite whether that was true or not because people can sometimes make mistakes.

"It wasn't until I was on the pitch at the end and I heard the announcement confirming the situation for us - it was a great feeling."

City's qualification for the Play-Offs with a game to go is all the more remarkable given the fact that Parkinson's side were seemingly some distance off the top seven following a 4-1 defeat just over a month ago at Exeter - a team that would turn out to be Bradford's nearest Play-Off rivals.

Parkinson added: "After the Exeter game, we found ourselves twelve points behind them and ten off the Play-Off places. 

"People had begun to write us off a bit at that stage, everyone but ourselves though.

"I always felt we had the players in this squad to go on a run.

"In fairness to them, we had already built up a decent unbeaten run going into the Exeter game.

"After the Exeter defeat though, we got the lads in the day after and we watched the match through again on the DVD. 

"We spoke at that point about how we were going to go for the rest of the season and what we needed to do and to improve on.

"The lads have took all of it on board and it has got us to where we want to be."

Speaking about the Burton game itself, Parkinson acknowledged City weren't perhaps at their fluid best at times during the match but felt his side did enough to warrant the win.

Parkinson added: "Normally against ten men on a slick surface, you can pass it about and really make that extra man advantage count, like we have done here in the past.

"We just couldn't quite pass the ball quick enough today though to create enough chances.

"We did have some chances - probably should have took one or two of them - but we didn't and that made things a bit nervy towards the end. Burton didn't really threaten us but you know that they have players who can produce something out of nothing.

"Our defenders always had to keep their concentration levels up as a result, and I thought, led by Michael Nelson, we did that today."

Parkinson confirmed after the match that Kyel Reid, who was replaced in the first half by Hines, had damaged his thigh but the full extent of the injury wasn't known as of yet.

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