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Looking for a reaction

19 November 2012

City boss Phil Parkinson has asked his players for an immediate reaction to the disappointment of last Saturday's frustrating defeat by Exeter City when the Grecians' Devon neighbours Plymouth Argyle arrive at the Coral Windows Stadium this Tuesday.

Parkinson was critical of the tempo of his team's play against Exeter in the first period, and held a brief meeting with the City squad ahead of training this Monday to clearly explain that an improvement would be required from the very off tomorrow night.

Parkinson said: "I said to the players this morning that Saturday's performance in the first half was a bit like when I first came to the club when we were a team that only really got going once we'd conceded."

"That's not been us this season. We've normally been the team in the ascendancy from the very first whistle, especially at home, and we need to get back to that tomorrow night.

"The character and will-to-win within this group of players is miles better than the squad I inherited last year.

"Playing a three-quarter pace isn't good enough to win games of football at this level though. We have to make sure we have eleven players and subs that are prepared to go that extra yard.

"Credit to the lads in the second half (vs Exeter), we had a go at them but we couldn't score. When those chances arise like they did on Saturday, you have to take them.

"That's not just for our strikers - everyone in the team has to put their hand up and put more demands on themselves to get on the score-sheet. Goals change games, goals change the atmosphere in the ground and the energy levels of the players.

"It's important that when we get opportunities, we take them.

"We have a group of lads who care - they don't like losing.

"We want to win every game we can, and we have to make sure we put things right from Saturday tomorrow night."

Stephen Darby and James Meredith are both believed to be in contention to return after missing the Exeter match injured, but Parkinson has hinted that changes may be afoot for Tuesday's match regardless of whether the defensive pair prove their fitness pre-match or not.

The Bantams boss added: "Teams like Exeter and Chesterfield clearly did their homework. They had an idea of how we play before setting their own team up to come play us.

"That's nothing new though - we do exactly the same with our future opponents. By now, most teams should know the make-up of our side. 

"It might not be so easy for (Plymouth manager) Carl Fletcher this week, however, because there is the possibility of a few changes for us."

City follow their home match with Plymouth this Tuesday with a long trip down to Bristol Rovers at the weekend.

With three out of the next four matches after Saturday's Rovers fixture cup ties for the Bantams, Parkinson has placed extra importance on this week's league games.

He added: "We had a good chat with the lads this morning - we know we have two massive games ahead of us."

"After these two, we have three cup games in our next four fixtures. We have to get to that period of cup football in the top seven. That means these two games this week are really pivotal for us.

"There are a few in the treatment room with bumps and bruises today, but we have to roll our sleeves up and get on with it because we have to get through these two games in good shape. We are certainly capable of doing so.

"Whatever system we play, we know we have enough quality in the squad to win games of football."

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