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Parkinson praises 'disciplined' display

6 October 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson was delighted with every aspect of his team's impressive performance at Walsall this Saturday as City continued their ascent up the League 1 table with an eye-catching win away at the Saddlers.

An unstoppable thunderbolt from Kyel Reid on the stroke of half time and a fifth of the season for James Hanson barely ninety seconds after the restart ensured City picked up all three points at Walsall's Banks's Stadium.

The deserved victory was the Bantams' third win on the trot to lift them up to fourth in the table after ten games.

With Walsall renowned for their fluid passing style of football and sitting only three points behind City at the start of the day, Parkinson was aware of the size of the task facing his side as they came into the game.

But thanks to a superb disciplined display from Parkinson's men, coupled with the two wonderful match-winning strikes from Reid and Hanson, City came out on top as worthy victors.

Parkinson said: "As we said earlier in the week, Walsall play with that extra man in midfield so we knew there would be periods where they would have a good spell of possession and we had to be patient.

"We certainly were patient - we kept our shape well - while we also looked threatening going forward when we had the ball ourselves.

"You need discipline and hard work when you come to a place like Walsall. We stressed that to the players beforehand. We knew it wouldn't be a day where we could afford to carry anyone, and we didn't which is why we got the win.

"As we said before about away games, it was so important that we didn't play like we were waiting to concede and then decide that we were going to play like the home team - it had to be from the first whistle.

"I felt we did that today, and also at the start of the second half as well. We said at half time that it was important we went for that second goal. If we had waited from them to equalise before going again, the momentum in the game would have gone towards the home team.

"But we started really well after the interval and got our rewards for it.

"Mentality is a huge thing in football. I am sure when you look at some of the results tonight, they will be teams who have been one up and two up but still not gone on to get the victory.

"It is a credit to the concentration levels of the lads that we managed to see the game through.

"I said to the lads just before they went out that today was a ten-game marker. I told them that it would put a real marker down if we were still right up their in the table after ten games."

City's victory at Walsall was all the more impressive considering that a number of the Bantams squad had knocks or niggles affecting them in the build up to the fixture.

Parkinson added: "We came into today's (Saturday) game with four or five players in the side who hadn't trained properly for the week.

"That did concern me going into this game and I did say to Steve (Parkin) about whether this was a day where we made changes.

"Ideally, you need to train in the build up to games to keep your sharpness going into the weekend.

"With that in mind, it was always going to be a tough test for us against a very energetic team. But I thought the sheer character of the side saw us through today."

For the second time in successive games, the duo of Reid and Hanson were on hand to supply the winning goals for the Bantams.

And while Reid's absolutely tremendous strike will undoubtedly see the winger capture most of the headlines, Parkinson was full of praise after the match for both players.

Parkinson added: "I don't think you'll see any goal better than Kyel's in the country today. I really hope it gets the coverage it deserves - it was a moment of pure quality.

"As much as Reidy's goal will take some beating, Hanson's display in that centre forward's role today will also take some beating.

"He ran in behind, he won headers, and his hold up play was out of the top draw - absolutely fantastic. To get his goal as well just topped it off for him. You don't get much better from a centre forward, but that is what he is capable of and he is showing it on a regular basis."

As well as handing a City debut to substitute Caleb Folan late on in the match, Parkinson also gave Jason Kennedy his first league action for the Bantams since his summer move to the club by also bringing the midfielder on off the bench.

Parkinson continued: "It was good to get Jason out there - I felt he deserved his chance today.

"When Gary (Jones) was struggling earlier in the week, I was contemplating playing him because he has trained so well and he has kept his spirits up when hasn't even been on the bench. 

"He is a good player and I am glad we could get him out there today."

Not for the first time, the Bantams were roared onto victory by a superb City support at the Banks's Stadium. Just under 1,400 Bradford fans made the journey down to cheer the lads on at Walsall, and their efforts certainly weren't overlooked by Parkinson.

He said: "It is hugely important we don't take our supporters for granted.

"The support we've had today was fantastic, and it makes a real difference.

"When we were kicking to that end in the first half, you could see the way the lads started the game.

"We appreciate the money they spend to come and follow us.

"It is my job and the team's job to ensure that they get in back in their cars and coaches for their journey back and they feel they have got value for it."

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