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Parkinson in positive mood

21 July 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson reserved special praise for three of the younger members of his travelling party to Ireland as City finished their time in the Emerald Isle with another pre-season victory.

After defeating Athlone Town 4-1 on Tuesday evening, Parkinson's men completed their Irish trip with a win over Airtricity Premier Division side Bohemians by the same scoreline.

With a number of his senior players starting the Athlone friendly during the week, Parkinson took the opportunity to hand some of the club's youngsters starting berths against Bohs.

Three players in particular - apprentices Jack Stockdill and Niall Heaton, plus first year pro Louie Swain - will have found the whole experience particularly invaluable. 

Centre forward Swain scored City's third in the match, while defenders Stockdill and Heaton both completed ninety minutes at a sun-drenched Dalymount Park.

Parkinson said: "Unfortunately the pitch was poor today (Saturday), but we made the most of it and still got a lot out of the game.

"I was particularly pleased with the three youngsters who played - Jack, Niall and Louie.

"Their enthusiasm spread throughout the team. They were tremendous in the game and I was very pleased with those three.

"We showed a great attitude to get back in the game after going a goal behind. Two great set-piece deliveries from Jason (Kennedy) resulted in our first goals, and I thought Jason overall had a good game today.

"He showed a lot of quality out there and he really imposed himself on the game."

After originally intending to play Stockdill from the start at right back, Parkinson was forced to move the youngster into central midfield shortly before kick off due to a minor injury picked up by Ricky Ravenhill in the warm-up.

Parkinson declared after the game that the problem wasn't anything really to worry about and he probably wouldn't have taken the decision to withdraw Ravenhill from his starting eleven if Saturday's encounter had been a league fixture.

Parkinson added: "He (Ricky) just struck a ball in the warm-up and felt his groin tighten up a bit. If it had been before a first-team league game, he still would have played. 

"As I've said before, we don't want to take any risks in pre-season."

While Ravenhill didn't take the field against Bohemians, Andrew Davies' appearance in the first half of the friendly encounter will have been a welcome sight for the plentiful travelling City support.

After recently being hampered by a nerve problem in his back that had been causing his calf to occasionally spasm, Saturday's first half run-out for Davies was the defender's first involvement in pre-season this summer.

Parkinson continued: "I'm obviously pleased to see Andrew back for us.

"Forty-five minutes was probably about right for him at the moment. It's good for him and for us to see him back and we'll now look to give him a bit longer on Tuesday (vs Grimsby Town)."

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