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Parkinson praise for Preston performance

29 January 2014

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson was encouraged to see his side stand toe-to-toe with promotion hopefuls Preston North End this Tuesday evening.

In only City's second home game of 2014, Parkinson's men matched their high-flying visitors for the most part to ensure that they picked up their second draw of the season with Preston following the 2-2 draw at Deepdale back in October.

Talk after the game was dominated by the first half sending offs for Bantams debutant Kyle Bennett and Preston's Neil Kilkenny but Parkinson was also keen to reflect on City's positive showing as well.

Parkinson said: "I felt it was a good game featuring two honest teams who both wanted to go and get the win.

"The conditions were quite difficult given the wet weather so enormous credit must go to (Head Groundsman) Mick Doyle and his staff for the effort that they have put into getting the pitch in such good shape for the game.

"We kept with the two up front after the sending off and Preston initially stuck with their three at the back. As a result, I felt we were switching the play well and looking really dangerous leading up to half time.

"Simon (Grayson, Preston North End manager) changed it to 4-4-1 for the second half and us, being the home team, we had to really stick with our two up top.

"With both sides down a man, it became a bit of a game of chess at times - both sides trying to make up for their lost player in different ways.

"Overall though, I felt the lads dealt with it all really well."

Influential defender Andrew Davies made his long-awaited return to City's line up for the Preston fixture after nearly four months away with a serious knee injury, helping Bradford to a welcome clean-sheet in the process.

Matthew Bates also continued at left back after moving into that position for the second half of the Bantams' previous game away at Sheffield United.

Parkinson said: "I am so pleased with the clean sheet. We needed that because he hadn't managed one for a while.

"Andrew Davies coming back into the team was a big lift for everyone because we have certainly missed him. It was a colossus performance from him tonight (Tuesday).

"When you think that he has been out for about four months and he has come back into the side without the benefit of a reserve game beforehand.

"We had that doubt in the back of our minds but he handled the game superbly and we are all so pleased for him.

"With (Matthew) Batesy playing there at left back, it helped Andrew Davies. He played on the same side of the defence as Andrew and he gave him some support. Batesy did a good solid job for the team."

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