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Boss buoyant ahead of Cobblers clash

4 April 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson says City are in buoyant mood ahead of their key home fixture with Northampton Town this Saturday.

Results over the Easter weekend have placed City on the shirt-tails of Rotherham United and Exeter City - the two sides currently occupying the last two League 2 Play-Off spots - as the regular season enters its final month.

Parkinson's men - clearly boosted by Easter Monday's win at Torquay United - will look to close the gap to the top seven even further this weekend when Baildon-born Aidy Boothroyd brings his Northampton side to the Coral Windows Stadium.

Currently sitting third in the League 2 table, Northampton, who City have played three times already this season due to an earlier F.A Cup double-header, will arrive at Valley Parade with their own hopes and ambitions.

Clearly aware of the importance of the match to both sides, Parkinson hopes that home advantage can play its part for City this weekend. 

Parkinson said: "Northampton are doing well - third in the table - and Saturday's game has the potential to be an exciting one. It is certainly one we are looking forward to.

"Northampton will clearly come here full of confidence given their position in the league, but we come into the game off the back of some good recent form ourselves.

"We've played them three times already this season and I don't think they'll be any real secrets in either camp now.

"Any result at this stage of the season is going to be hard-fought and earned, and I would expect Saturday to be no different.

"It is just great to be involved. Six games to go for us now and we've still up there contesting.

"Aidy (Boothroyd) has done a good job at Northampton and we know that they have some good players in their squad, but so do we.

"I feel in the last two home games - Wycombe and Southend - we've started to get back to how we can play on our own pitch.

"We always say to the players before a home match that if any team is going to leave our ground with a point or a win, we're going to have to make sure that they really, really have to earn it.

"If Northampton play outstandingly well and we don't get all three points then we'll shake their hands afterwards, but we have to make sure that any points earned at our ground are really hard-fought for."

The Bantams will welcome Northampton to Valley Parade with arguably some of their better players getting back to some of their best form. 

City have clearly been helped by the return of the impressive James Meredith at left back, James Hanson and Garry Thompson are also currently amongst the goals, while Kyel Reid and Nahki Wells are beginning to sparkle once again as well.

With so many of his squad members playing a role in recent games then, Parkinson admits he may well have a welcome selection dilemma on his hands.

Parkinson said: "We felt against Torquay and Southend that we had goals in the team.

"Nahki (Wells) came into the side at Torquay having really earned his place due to the way he had been training and his performance coming off the bench against Southend United. But, equally, there are other players in the squad vying for places.

"Zavon (Hines) was very unfortunate not to start (at Torquay) after his goal against Southend, Alan Connell has done excellently when he's come off the bench recently and Garry Thompson has looked good when he's played in that forward role, so we have some pleasing decisions to make.

"It's a nice issue to have - it's good to have players in form."

City's encounter with Northampton will incredibly be their 56th match of the campaign. Factoring in the Bantams' SIX periods of extra-time played this season during their mammoth cup exploits, Parkinson's men have actually played the equivalent of 58 games of football so far this term.

Far from feeling the pace, however, Parkinson believes there is plenty of spark left in his squad for the end of season run-in.

Parkinson added: "If you look at the players in the team at the moment, Jon McLaughlin hasn't played too many games, James Meredith and Andrew Davies have missed part of the season, Kyel Reid and Ricky Ravenhill have come back into the side after breaks, so there are plenty of players within the squad who haven't had that 58 games.

"Looking at the players in training today (Thursday), the standard and the attitude was first class.

"For that to be like that at this stage of the season is a real credit to this group of players.

"We know we still have something to play for, and you can feel that vibe around the camp."

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