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Players to be given their chance

8 October 2012

City boss Phil Parkinson has hinted that there could be some players recalled into the side and given their chance to impress when the Bantams travel to Hartlepool United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Second Round this Tuesday.

After reaching the Area Semi-Finals last time around, tomorrow's tie against the League 1 side will be City's first in the competition this season following a bye in the first round.

Parkinson is likely to place the trio of Ritchie Jones, Stephen Darby and Alan Connell into his starting eleven for the tie against Pools, with other alterations being considered as well by the Bantams chief.

For Jones, a one-time Hartlepool player, any appearance at Victoria Park would be his first of the season following an ankle injury on the eve of the new campaign.

Parkinson said: "People like Stephen Darby and Ritchie Jones, for example, need to play."

"They are good players but they need some game-time, Ritchie in particular after his injury. He's done a lot of training work but obviously hasn't played for us yet (this season).

"Alan Connell is another one. He came on at Dagenham (on Saturday) and helped change the game, he was terrific, so there are players who I think will have a positive effect on the game.

"There is certainly players within our squad who I feel deserve a chance.

"I feel things are different now to when we moved things about for the Watford and Burton Albion ties (in the Capital One Cup). 

"There we were changing a winning team. We've just got beat, however, and with a poor performance as well.

"So the players who come in at Hartlepool tomorrow night must feel that they have a real chance to stay in the side if they perform.

"That is certainly how I feel.

"We've lost a couple of key players recently through injury - Kyel (Reid) and Gary (Jones) - which is a blow for us because they have been at the heart of a lot of good things for us this season.

"But we have to evolve as a team and we have to now find a new formula and a balance that will see us winning games again, and that starts tomorrow night."

With Gary Jones and Reid still ruled out, Luke Oliver could join them on the sidelines for Tuesday night after jarring his hip while challenging with Dagenham 'keeper Chris Lewington for a high ball in the latter stages of Saturday's encounter.

Parkinson confirmed: "Luke Oliver fell awkwardly and took a bit of a bang around his hip region on Saturday, so he's a doubt.

"If we had to call it now, you'd probably say he'd be out of tomorrow at the moment."

The doubt over Oliver aside, however, Parkinson is expected to have the same group of players available to him that travelled down to Dagenham at the weekend.

And despite talk of changes ahead of City's trip north, Parkinson has made it crystal clear that his side are going to Hartlepool looking to progress.

Parkinson added: "We have made changes in cup ties (Capital One Cup) this season already, but we've made those changes looking to still win the game.

"As we did against Notts County, Watford and Burton, we'll be going into tomorrow night looking to put on a really good performance.

"We want a response from Saturday. We want players to show that they want to be involved against York City on Saturday (City's next npower League 2 fixture).

"The best way for players to do their talking is out on the football pitch. We are genuinely looking for players to help make our minds up regarding selection for Saturday.

"I've always respected this competition. When I was Colchester manager, we got to the Area Finals a couple of times.

"Of course, it is an opportunity to give some players a game, but as we've said ahead of our Capital One Cup ties, the best way to progress sometimes is to give players who are fresh their chance."

A large part of City's run to the Area Semi-Finals stage last season was down to their success from the penalty spot. 

The Bantams won three penalty shoot-outs in a row in the JPT last season and have also won their two previous shoot-outs before that as well.

Also coming in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, City defeated Notts County and Port Vale on penalties during the 2009/10 season under Stuart McCall's reign.

With no extra-time scheduled should the scores remain level at Victoria Park after the end of 90 minutes, Parkinson is fully aware that City could be facing up to the prospect of further penalty drama this Tuesday.

Parkinson confirmed: "We've practised them (penalties) again this morning. 

"We know that's important because if the final whistle goes and the scores are tied, it goes straight to penalties in this competition.

"We have been preparing for that side of things should it happen."

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