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We must be right on it again

12 September 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson says his side won't be taking their foot off the gas even in the slightness as they bid to continue their impressive home form when Colchester United arrive at the Coral Windows Stadium this Saturday.

City head into the weekend's visit of Colchester after an amazing start to their league fixtures at Valley Parade - a run which has seen them secure three wins out of three, score ten goals and concede none.

After going unbeaten in their first four league games, opponents Colchester will take on City having suffered back-to-back defeats in the division.

While missing a number of key players, including the likes of Freddie Sears and Sanchez Watt, a depleted Colchester side were brushed aside 2-0 by Coventry City last Sunday in front of a watching Parkinson at the Sky Blues' adopted home of Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium.

With at least a couple of Colchester's absentees likely to return for this Saturday though, Parkinson is not fooled by that one-off Coventry result, especially having seen some of The U's performances earlier in the season on DVD.

And while the City chief acknowledges confidence is understandably high in the Bradford camp at present given City's promising home form, Parkinson is adamant no hint of complacency will creep into his side's game when they meet up at Valley Parade this Saturday.

Parkinson said: "The lads are chomping at the bit in training. If anything, we are having to hold them back in training slightly.

"It is going to be another tough game at the weekend for us though. Colchester had a lot players missing last Sunday at Coventry and we know they are a better side than that. We will have to be at our best come this Saturday if we want to get anything out of the game.

"I saw them at Coventry and I've seen a number of their matches on DVD, and I think they have been the better team in most of the games.

"As always, we will be reminding the lads before the game of what we need to do to perform at our best. We will be focusing on Colchester's strengths and weaknesses but also on what we need to do to put in another good performance.

"You cannot win any game at 75 or 85 percent. We need to be right on it from minute one to the last minute. 

"I think the supporters seem to really have a connection with the team we have here now at the moment. I think it is something that has stemmed from last season.

"When you have 13,000, 14,000 people creating that sort of atmosphere, you have to enjoy it because there isn't too many times in your career when a home support is so behind each and every player.

"We know that the way we keep that good feeling there is to continue to show the hard work and effort that our supporters demand.

"Since I've been here, we have always got a great response from the crowd whenever we have played in a committed fashion.

"This weekend is another home game for us to try and produce a similar sort of performance."

After beginning his managerial career with Colchester just over ten years ago, Parkinson could run into a few familiar faces this Saturday.

One old friend in particular is current U's boss Joe Dunne, who was youth team coach at Colchester during a section of Parkinson's time at the helm, while Dunne's assistant Mark Kinsella was Charlton Athletic first team coach when the Bantams boss was in charge at The Valley.

Parkinson said: "Joe has got them playing some good football.

"I know Joe and Mark really well. They did a great job keeping Colchester in the division last season, which wasn't easy.

"This year that have carried on that good work by getting Colchester off to a good start.

"Colchester was my first managerial job and I have a lot of good memories from my time there.

"We managed to improve the club throughout my time as manager and I was delighted to finish it off with promotion into the Championship. 

"Since I've left, they have got a new ground, a new training ground and a new chairman, so a few things have certainly changed.

"The core of the club and what it is all about is still the same though.

"It is a club which is very close to the local community and the supporters they have are very loyal about their club."

After previously spending two months sidelined with a broken arm, Andy Gray put himself in contention for this Saturday's match after coming through 75 minutes of private friendly at York City unscathed this Tuesday.

With a couple of unnamed members of Parkinson's squad rated as doubtful at the moment for the weekend due to training ground knocks, Gray's return to action could see the experienced attacker earn a place on the bench for Saturday.

Parkinson added: "Andy has done everything he can to keep himself in shape while he was out.

"He played about 75 minutes at York and it is good to have him back.

"He is back now with us doing full contact training and all he can do now is keep working as hard as he has been doing.

"We have a few injury doubts at the moment, so we will need to assess them over the next twenty-four hours before deciding whether Andy makes the squad or not.

"We should know more tomorrow (Friday) after training."

While Parkinson may need to make some late checks on a couple of injury-affected players, the Bantams boss will, at least, be able to welcome back Rory McArdle after the defender missed last weekend's Brentford win due to international duty with Northern Ireland.

With Luke Oliver impressing in McArdle's absence during the Brentford game though, Parkinson acknowledges that the defender isn't certain to walk straight back into the side.

Parkinson said: "Rory comes back into contention. Obviously though, Luke has come in and played well for us last weekend.

"Rory hasn't had any football during his time with Northern Ireland in terms of playing in their matches, but he has trained.

"Even though the results didn't go for Northern Ireland over the last few days, Rory has come back in good spirits and ready to fight for his place."

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