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Parkinson's rallying cry

30 April 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson has urged City's home support to give his side one last big effort as the club get ready to embark on their Play-Off adventure.

Tickets for Thursday's mouth-watering semi-final first leg clash with Burton Albion at the Coral Windows Stadium go on general sale to all supporters from the Bantams Ticket Office at 9:00am on Wednesday morning.

Having experienced some of the truly memorable occasions and special atmospheres the Valley Parade crowd have served up throughout this campaign, Parkinson is fully aware of the boost City's fans can give his side and, equally, the negative effect it can have on opposing teams.

With Thursday night certain to be City's last home match of the season, and probably their most important, Parkinson has asked City's magnificent followers to do all they can to be in the stadium to play their part come kick off time.

Parkinson said: "We have asked a lot of our supporters this season in terms of putting their hands in their pockets to spend their hard-earned money to come and support us - both home and away.

"But I am asking them again, if you haven't got your match ticket yet, please get down to the ground in the next couple of days and get your ticket.

"The more intense we can make the atmosphere on Thursday, the more it is going to help our players. 

"The vast majority of opposition managers, certainly in recent weeks, who come to the ground always comment about the atmosphere and how difficult it can make it for the opposition to play.

"We have to generate that sort of atmosphere again on Thursday.

"The closer we can get to getting the stadium full, the better it is going to be for us."

Thursday's first leg will kick off both City and Burton's quests to make it the grand final at Wembley Stadium in just over two weeks time.

This is, of course, not the first time this season City have found themselves in a two-legged tie with a trip to the national stadium on the line following their dramatic Capital One Cup Semi-Final victory over Aston Villa back in January.

With the Sky Sports cameras set to return to Valley Parade for the Burton game after covering live City's home cup victories over Arsenal and Villa, Parkinson believes the experience of the whole Capital One Cup run, not just the Villa ties, can only help his players as they get set for their latest involvement in knockout football.

Parkinson added: "We have a group of players who have played this season in front of full houses and when the t.v cameras have been there, and relished it all. I fully expect us to do the same again.

"As I said throughout our cup run, the whole experience of playing in the big games and dealing with the big occasions will help our younger players in their careers.

"We now have another opportunity to play in game of a similar magnitude to our cup matches."

Parkinson's men will head into Thursday's first leg having only tasted defeat twice in the fifteen games since their Wembley date with Swansea City back in February- a set of results that saw them successfully bridge a gap of eight points to the Play-Off places in less than two weeks earlier this month.

Despite clearly being pleased with City's form going into the Play-Offs though, Parkinson believes City have achieved nothing yet and feels they must kick on once again.

Parkinson added: "It has been an enormous achievement by all of the lads to only lose two games since our Capital One Cup Final appearance. It shows a lot of hard work has gone in to putting us in these Play-Offs.

"However, the pats on the backs are firmly behind us now because we have got to make that hard work we have put in so far worthwhile. We have to finish the job off. 

"We are going to ask the players for one almighty effort on Thursday night to produce a performance that will give us the best chance possible to go into the second leg in good spirits.

"Preparations have been going well, everyone has trained well today and is in a good frame of mind."

The unique nature of the Play-Offs means that City will face up to Burton again at the Pirelli Stadium for Sunday's second leg only three days after the Valley Parade encounter. 

Understandably keen to make home advantage count before the trip to Staffordshire at the weekend, Parkinson is aware that the emphasis will be on City to go on the attack this Thursday.

Parkinson: "Clearly we will be going out looking to win the game, but we do that all the time anyway. When they came here in the league recently, Burton came with a cautious approach.

"I think Gary (Rowett, Burton Albion Manager) will look at that and say that it worked to a certain degree because it was a tight game that was probably decided by one mistake and a sending off.

"As the away team, you could be forgiven for thinking that they will line up slightly cautiously again. We have to do the exact opposite. 

"We have to be ready to attack at every opportunity and get the crowd off their seats and right behind us."

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