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Parkinson sees his wish granted

18 April 2014

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson was delighted to see his pre-match wish come true as City picked up a hard-fought victory over Play-Off hopefuls Peterborough United.

A superb free-kick from Adam Reach just before the half hour mark was enough to win it for Parkinson's men against a Peterborough side who played 50 minutes with ten men after Shaun Brisley's dismissal.

Coming into the Good Friday match, Parkinson had asked his players to show on home soil the same dogged determination and discipline that has been a key factor in City's recent away success.

Much to the delight of the Bantams boss then, City did just that in their penultimate home match of the season to grind out a welcome win over a much-fancied Peterborough team.

Parkinson said: "We'd spoken about it during the week and asked the lads how we could bring that away discipline and resiliency into our home games.

"For me, the resilience and never-say-die attitude that we showed at Rotherham and (Leyton) Orient we needed to show again tonight (Friday). We did and we got our rewards.

"The lads are shattered in that dressing room because of the effort they have put in. They have given absolutely everything.

"We always say to them that to get results, certainly at this level, you need all eleven players to give an almighty effort. You cannot carry anyone. 

"We certainly didn't have that tonight - everyone was fighting for the cause.

"Games at this stage of the season can be quite frenetic because everybody wants to win. Everybody is playing for something.

"I felt the first half we were excellent and deservedly got the lead. They were still a danger though even when they went down to ten men because they have so many good attacking players.

"With Swindon (Peterborough's main Play-Off rival) winning today, I knew they would just go for it.

"They went really gung-ho in the second half, and at times looked threatening, but we also had chances on the break to finish it off.

"It doesn't matter if you are against ten players or eleven, when the opposition can get the ball in and around the box to players like (Britt) Assombalonga and (Conor) Washington, they can be a threat, and that is what we knew Peterborough would be.

"It was important that the team showed the same resiliency tonight that we've been showing on our travels recently.

"That determination and fighting spirit was there tonight again. 

"For whatever reason, we seemed to have lost our way slightly in terms of that for our last few home matches. It was important that our supporters saw a really committed display. It wasn't perfect - I don't think you can get everything perfect - but one thing it was is spirited." 

Thanks to City's favourable goal difference and the fact that some teams near the bottom of the table still have to play each other, the Bantams' win over Peterborough this Good Friday now virtually secures the club's place in League 1 next season - a point not lost on Parkinson.

He added: "It was important for us that we got the points that just about secures our League 1 safety.

"There was a time today where a lot of the teams down the bottom were doing really well and I was a bit worried that it might create a bit of edginess around the ground for tonight.

"Realistically though, we just said to the lads to forget about everybody else and just do what we can do and perform to our best.

"As I've said all along, teams at the bottom will keep picking up points - no doubt about that - so it is good that we have now extended the gap."

Armed with his knowledge of the exact shape and formation used by Peterborough in recent matches, Parkinson decided to tweak City's own set-up slightly for the game.

With Nathan Doyle in a defensive midfield role and match-winner Reach playing just behind the strikers, City matched their opponents' set-up and played the first half using a 'diamond-shaped' formation in midfield.

Parkinson explained: "There was a couple of reasons (for the change).

"We saw that Peterborough had played with a 'diamond' in midfield in their last couple of games and I just felt Adam (Reach) on their deep midfield player, who is a good footballer but perhaps not the best defensively, would cause him problems.

"Also, I felt in our recent home matches that our wide players hadn't affected the game as much as we would have liked. 

"I know Reachy got his goal against Oldham (City's previous home fixture) but it was almost like he needed a breath of fresh life in him perhaps, and he got that tonight. I thought he was tremendous, certainly in the first half."

Along with the tweak in formation, Parkinson also decided to recall the fit-again James Hanson and Raffaele De Vita for the visit of Peterborough.

Hanson supported Jon Stead up front, while De Vita played on the right-side of midfield following the Bantams' slight change in set-up in midfield.

After missing City's last four matches with a back problem, Hanson actually returned to training this week in the build up to Friday's game - a fact Parkinson was keen to keep under wraps to keep opponents Peterborough guessing.

Parkinson added: "I was pleased with Hans (James Hanson).

"It was only when he got through training the last couple of days that we decided to play him because we wanted to make sure he was right.

"Physically though, because he is such a good athlete, he was capable of going the full ninety (minutes).

"I felt Raffa (De Vita) did great as well.

"When we decided to change the system, we just felt he was more suited to that tucked in right-sided role than Kyle Bennett or Garry Thompson. 

"He showed some good class on the ball at times and had some good efforts for goal."

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