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Parkinson looking to be impressed

2 September 2013

City chief Phil Parkinson has admitted that some changes will be made for The Bantams' Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Hartlepool United - but he is keen to stress that does not mean he will be taking the tie lightly at all.

Parkinson is set to use Tuesday's first round tie at Victoria Park as an opportunity to give some squad members who have so far been on the periphery of his league line-up the chance to impress.

The Bantams boss has already confirmed that Middlesbrough 'keeper Connor Ripley - fresh from penning a new loan deal - will start, while the likes of Ricky Ravenhill, Jason Kennedy, Raffaele De Vita and Matt Taylor could also feature.

Young striker Oliver McBurnie has now been given a squad number ahead of the trip north - shirt 27 - and may even take his place among the substitutes.

Despite the likely alterations to the eleven that started Saturday's Sky Bet League 1 match at Stevenage, Parkinson's men will go into the JPT tie with Pools looking to keep up the club's proud recent history in the competition.

In the two previous seasons under Parkinson's stewardship, City have reached the Area Semi-Finals of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on both occasions, losing to the eventual winners Crewe Alexandra last campaign.

With Johnstone's Paint Trophy rules also dictating that at least six of your regular starters from the season so far must begin the tie, Parkinson knows this will be a competitive match for his side. 

Parkinson said: "Tuesday night is a good opportunity for some players who haven't been getting a game recently.

"We are restricted to exactly how many changes we can make due to competition rules, which I know is a source of frustration for a lot of managers, but we will go there looking to enjoy the game and put on a good performance.

"Similar to Kyel Reid, who came into the side on Saturday after training hard and pushing for an opportunity, any players who come in on Tuesday will be looking to stake a case for a place in the team on Saturday (vs Brentford) and beyond.

"These players are a group who have been waiting patiently for their chance.

"They will be looking to make a statement that says they should be in the team every single week, and I'm looking forward to it.

"Every time someone pulls on a Bradford City shirt, it is important that they wear it with pride. We will certainly be looking for that tomorrow."

Tuesday's tie with Pools with be City's third at Victoria Park in this competition in the past four seasons.

Led at the time by Peter Taylor, The Bantams lost out to Hartlepool in October 2010 thanks to a single Leon McSweeney goal before City turned the tables on their hosts last season with a penalty shoot-out victory after a goalless ninety minutes.

The current crop of Hartlepool players City will take on in this season's encounter have yet to register a win so far.

Pools, who were relegated into League 2 last season, have, in fact, yet to score a goal in any of their five league games this campaign - the only team in the entire Football League to do so.

Having watched some of Hartlepool's recent match action, however, Parkinson believes Tuesday night's opponents have more going for them than the stats may suggest.

Parkinson added: "The roles will be reversed from last season given our switch over in divisions over the summer.

"As a result, we will go there probably as favourites to progress given that we are now a league higher than them.

"Equally though, I believe they have kept some of their better players from last year, where they did well in the second part of the season. It was probably the first part of the season that cost them.

"In the games I have seen of them, in particular their match at home to Fleetwood (Town), they have played quite well. They probably deserved to win the Fleetwood match. They were certainly very unlucky not to get something out of it (Hartlepool lost the game 1-0).

"Sometimes when you don't start a season well though, you don't quite get those breaks that you need."

League 2 Hartlepool will have at least one or two familiar faces within their ranks when they play host to Parkinson's men on Tuesday night.

Former Bantams Jack Compton and Nialle Rodney are both on Hartlepool's books, while Pools are now managed by Colin Cooper, who once enjoyed a spell as City's assistant manager.

Although Cooper spent most of his time at the Coral Windows Stadium during Peter Jackson's reign, the former Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest defender did briefly work with Parkinson upon the City chief's arrival at the club around two years ago.

Parkinson continued: "It will be good to meet up with Col and have a word with him before the game.

"This is his first taste of being a manager and I am sure he'll be itching to get that first win.

"He has one or two really good players at his disposal at least, so it will be a tough game for us."

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