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Jones coming back

20 March 2014

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson has hinted that there is no guarantee that skipper Gary Jones will jump back into his starting eleven for Saturday's trip to Shrewsbury Town, despite the midfielder making a return from illness as a second half substitute against Gillingham last weekend.

Jones missed City's previous away fixture - the victory over Colchester United - due to a virus and Parkinson has admitted that the club's influential captain is still not quite back at his top level just yet.

Parkinson says City's management are currently restricting Jones's workload during training sessions to ensure that the all-action competitor doesn't do too much, too soon.

The Bantams chief said: "He has trained well and he is fine after his illness, but is he 100% back to the way he was? Probably not. He's not quite there yet but he's getting there.

"I've just got to be careful with Gary that we manage him in training with regards what he does and how much work we give him. He is the sort of player who wants to train every minute of every day and he probably would do if allowed.

"We have to make sure we manage him because he has had a virus which knocked the stuffing out of him. We have to make sure he is right and ready to go."

One player Parkinson hopes will be right and ready to go sooner rather than later is Raffaele De Vita.

After an injury-plagued few months, De Vita has now been back in training since the start of last week. With six weeks of the campaign still to run, Parkinson believes the Italian could still have a sizeable role to play.

Parkinson added: "We tried to get Raf back in contention before a few weeks ago but he had a set-back. This time though, it seems he does feel a lot better. 

"He knows there might be some discomfort still with the injury but he has the right mindset to cope with that. I think he realises that if he doesn't get back now, it will be difficult for him to figure before the end of the season.

"He has trained great this week and looked really fit in terms of his running. Throughout all of his injury issues, he has still been working hard on his fitness.

"We just need to get him some more football training in him and hopefully a reserve game in the next week or two.

"He adds real quality to our training because you can see the sort of things that made us bring him to the football club.

"In the final third, he can put the ball in the net or he can find that killer pass.

"People like Raf with their fresh legs could be key as we come to these final periods of the campaign. He should have a lot of football still left in his legs."

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