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A different challenge

29 August 2013

Different challenge; same attitude.

This is the message Bantams boss Phil Parkinson will be drilling into his players as they prepare for Saturday's trip to the Lamex Stadium to play Graham Westley's Stevenage in their latest Sky Bet League 1 fixture.

Just under a week after the euphoria of City's memorable home victory over Sheffield United, Parkinson's men are now readying themselves for the challenge of facing a Stevenage side who have earned themselves a reputation down the years for their hard-working and robust style of play.

Stevenage's competitive and all-action style is certainly expected to pose a different threat to the Bantams than Sheffield United's passing brand of football last weekend.

And although City are set to be backed by another decent away following, the atmosphere that is expected to greet the Bantams at Stevenage's compact Lamex Stadium will also most likely be completely different to the one that Parkinson's men enjoyed against the Blades.

The City chief says he is fully aware of the challenging nature of Saturday's match at Stevenage but feels the game gives his side the perfect opportunity to show that they can perform in any circumstance.

Parkinson said:"We all thoroughly enjoyed the day last Saturday (vs Sheffield United) but we are focused on the next one now. 

"It is going to be a different type of game at Stevenage.

"It is another challenge and one we have to rise to.

"That is the great thing about football - there are so many different aspects and challenges within the sport. Look at last weekend, we were up against a Sheffield United team who like to get the ball down and play. We also had the vast majority of a big crowd in our favour and they were making a terrific atmosphere.

"It is a completely different environment we find ourselves going into on Saturday. To be successful though, you have to be able to play and compete on all grounds and in all different situations. You can't just play well when you're at home and the crowd is all on your side.

"You can't always guarantee a result in football, but you should be able to guarantee a certain level of performance.

"The longer we play in this division and the longer we can put in performances last Saturday, then the more confidence we are going to get.

"Equally though, we must not forget that hard-work and discipline helped us win that (Sheffield United) game. We certainly can't forget those two key points as they'll be needed again down at Stevenage.

"Stevenage are a team built on getting those main key points right. But so are we.

"It is important to remember that our lads have a great work ethic, whether it be in training or in games. 

"Our lads know what they have to do to earn the right to play - they know already how hard they have to work without me reminding them too much."

Stevenage will come into the weekend's encounter after taking Premier League side Everton to extra-time in the Capital One Cup second round on Wednesday night.

With Parkinson watching from the stands at Goodison Park, 'Boro actually took the lead of the tie in normal time before eventually losing out to an 115th minute winner from Everton substitute Marouane Fellaini.

Parkinson added: "They (Stevenage) played well, but that was no real surprise to me because I've seen a couple of their games already this season.

"They are a hard-working team and they have a real tenacity about their play. You have to make sure you at least match that when you go down to play them.

"There is no doubt about it - we will need a really disciplined and committed display from the lads this weekend."

After going into last weekend's Yorkshire derby with Sheffield United doubtful due to minor injuries, both James Hanson and Mark Yeates should be fine to play against Stevenage after making it through the Blades contest unscathed.

Parkinson continued: "I was pleased that we could get Mark and James out on the pitch last week because they hadn't really trained much leading up to the (Sheffield United) game.

"They both made contributions to the match, and they will benefit this week from being able to have some more training."

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