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Parkinson ready for derby occasion

5 August 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson says he and his players are gearing themselves up for a special occasion when they make the short journey across West Yorkshire for their local derby with Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.

Roared on by around 4,000 City supporters in the John Smith's Stadium, Parkinson's men will face their Championship hosts in the Capital One Cup this Tuesday evening - their first tie in the competition since famously reaching the final last February.

With memories of the club's unbelievable cup run last season still undoubtedly quite fresh in the minds of the City chief and his squad, plus the prospect of such a large away following in attendance, Parkinson knows all the ingredients are there to make this an extra special West Yorkshire derby.

Parkinson said: "Obviously this competition was great for us last season.

"Someone said to me earlier 'do you try to forget about those memories and move on?' Of course you don't, we will never forget the scenes and the games from last year.

"It is important that we don't (forget) because it was history that we made by getting to the final.

"We'll go into Tuesday's game with a proud record in this competition as a result and, as ever, we will also go to give it our best shot.

"If you look around the games over the course of the next three days, I don't think there will be many higher first round crowds in the competition than there will be at Huddersfield.

"There was a thought that the game should have been on T.V because of the Yorkshire derby element and the fact that we reached the final last season. 

"We can go there and play with a little bit of freedom because the expectancy won't be on us as much as Huddersfield. 

"Huddersfield are our local rivals because of where the two clubs are situated on the map, but we get on great with them as a club and we look forward to meeting them on Tuesday night. It should be a great night for both clubs."

Having previously talked up the strength of his squad and the possibility of changing things for this tie, Parkinson has strongly hinted again that he will be making alterations to his side for the first round encounter.

Rory McArdle is definitely out after playing through an ankle problem at Bristol City on Saturday, while fellow centre half Andrew Davies is likely to be rested after missing a lot of pre-season due to back and calf issues.

All of this could pave the way for Matt Taylor, who signed for the club last Thursday, to make his City debut at centre half against the Terriers.

After making his welcome return from long-term injury recently in a friendly at Harrogate Town, Luke Oliver is another defender who could be set to see some action against Huddersfield.

Oliver is expected to start Tuesday's game from the bench, but Parkinson has revealed he could use the tie to give the defensive giant some game-time.

Parkinson is also pondering whether to start with Middlesbrough loanee 'keeper Connor Ripley, who has been given permission by his parent club to be made available for selection for the match.

The Bantams boss added: "I've said for a few weeks now that we would make changes for this game, but only in line with what we did last season, nothing new.

"Players like Andrew Davies, who missed a lot of pre-season, might find it too much, too soon to go Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday. McArdle is out with his ankle, so we have to decide defensively what we want to do.

"Matt Taylor has come into the club and hasn't had a proper pre-season. 

"He has only had a bit of training under his belt, but we have to make a decision on him.

"Big Olly (Luke Oliver) comes back into the reckoning as well. Certainly not to start the game, but we will think about getting him on the pitch for some minutes. 

"This game is important, but, long-term, I have to look at the overall picture. We have to find a pathway to get Matt Taylor and Luke Oliver up to speed, and it might well be that they both play a part Tuesday.

"Connor has come in with a good attitude and he has settled in well. He is a 'keeper with potential and he can play on Tuesday night. We'll make a call on him before the game whether we play him or not."

If, as expected, changes are made though, Parkinson will be able to point to results in the early rounds of the Capital One Cup last season as proof that making changes to his line up doesn't necessarily decrease City's chances of progressing.

Parkinson continued: "Roughly this time last season, we went to Watford and made changes for that one.

"For Wigan, I think we had several first-team players missing for that one. It was just after the injuries to Andrew (Davies) and Luke (Oliver) at Burton on the previous Saturday.

"At this stage of the season everyone wants to get in the team and keep their shirt. There are some players who didn't play on Saturday who can consider themselves extremely unlucky not to have got themselves a shirt.

"We have genuine competition for places within the squad at the moment. The ones who start on Tuesday night know if they play well, they will have a great chance of staying in the team."

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