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Club News


26 April 2014

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson admits it was nice to be able to put a smile on fans' faces for last time at the Coral Windows Stadium this season as City won their final home game of the 2013/2014 campaign this Saturday.

Aaron Mclean's third goal for the Bantams and Garry Thompson's late winner were enough to see Parkinson's side defeat Crawley Town 2-1 and make it back-to-back home victories after their Good Friday win over Peterborough United.

The win ensured Parkinson and his side received a rousing reception as they went around the Valley Parade pitch post-match for their end-of-season lap of appreciation.

The victory also came on a day when a crowd of over 13,200 at the Coral Windows Stadium paid their respects to the 56 supporters who lost their lives in the Valley Parade fire disaster with a minute's silence.

Parkinson said: "The game did have an end-of-season feeling to it at times but it is good to get the win.

"That's back-to-back home wins for us, and it should send the fans home in good spirits.

"They have shown us magnificent loyalty again this season.

"It was nice to see the supporters staying around to clap us off at the end. It is obviously easier to do that when we've won, but I'm sure the fans would have done that regardless because I think they understand that staying in this division was very important.

"We now want to finish the season off well at Tranmere Rovers next weekend.

"I said to the lads after the match that I felt there were times in the second half where we looked a little tired but the season finishes with the final whistle at Tranmere, not before that.

"We have to make sure we go as strong as we can in training next week and in the match to make sure we finish as strong as we can.

"Today was a big day for the city of Bradford and this club, and I said to the lads before the match that they were representing a lot of people and that it was very important we put in a professional performance. I think the lads did themselves justice and the supporters responded to that at the end."

Parkinson revealed post-match that first goalscorer Mclean was originally set for a place on the bench until another issue with James Hanson's back this (Saturday) morning meant a promotion back into City's starting eleven for the forward.

Parkinson added: "Aaron wasn't playing as of this morning, I was going to go with Hans (James Hanson) instead but he had to pull out because his injury flared up again.

"That is something we need to get on top of going into next season.

"Too many times this season we've done the team shape, we've worked on the set-pieces, and then Hans has had to pull out at the last minute.

"That's not a criticism of James, that's just saying that to improve the side next season, we need to know if he is fit or not fit at any one point and not have this grey area.

"I am confident that we will resolve this issue though. James is frustrated by it all as well, he was desperate to get out there and play, but unfortunately he couldn't and we had to change it around and bring Aaron in.

"Aaron has a lot of work to do over the summer. He is not like the rest of the players who have had the last couple of seasons playing a lot of games. He hasn't really played enough football over the last few seasons, and his game is about physicality.

"We need to get him into a state where he can reproduce the sort of performances he did at Colchester and Leyton Orient on a run of Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday.

"To get him back to that stage is going to take a lot of work.

"We know he is physically capable of doing it but he is going to be in for a tough summer getting himself ready for next season."

Before City's match-winner through second half substitute Thompson, the Bantams' first change of the day saw Rory McArdle replaced after taking a whack to the face while defending a cross into the City box a few minutes before the hour mark.

Parkinson said: "He has a cut to his head and he also actually twisted his ankle in the first half.

"It is very difficult to get Roz off the pitch - he wants to play every minute of every game - but we hope he should be ok for next Saturday."

With Adam Reach now back at Middlesbrough, Parkinson decided to go with Mark Yeates as his replacement for the visit of Crawley.

Yeates featured at the top of a 'diamond-shaped' midfield for City as the Bantams lined up in the same formation used against Peterborough in their previous home match.

Parkinson added: "I've decided to go mainly with (Adam) Reachy and Kyle Bennett since Kyel Reid's injury so Yeatesy has had to be patient.

"He has trained very well during this period out of the team, however, and it is credit to him that he has managed to go the ninety minutes today even though it is his first start for us since December.

"It shows to me that he has really concentrated on his fitness levels in training."

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