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It's all to play for

8 April 2013

City assistant Steve Parkin has acknowledged it is all to play for still as the Bantams get set to embark on their final five matches of the regular League 2 season.

The Bantams entertain Bristol Rovers at the Coral Windows Stadium this Tuesday evening only two points off the Play-Off places thanks to last Saturday's vital victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Northampton Town.

Having been as many as eight points away following the Good Friday draw with Southend United, City now find themselves firmly in the hunt with arguably as many as eight other teams for one of the four end-of-season Play-Off berths.

Perhaps crucially, City's final five fixtures of the season are all against sides fighting with them for promotion - including Tuesday's opponents Rovers.

Intriguing as that may turn out to be though, Parkin is keen to stress that there is no point looking further ahead than the next fixture just yet. 

Parkin said: "We can't do anything other than take one game at a time, but it is in our own hands now because we play a lot of the teams in and around us in the shake-up.

"Our run-in to the end of the season is difficult - there's no doubt about that - but, as I say, it is in our own hands now.

"I still feel there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge and some more twists and turns to be had - there is bound to be with some of the fixtures that are coming up in the division.

"We've had a long and rewarding season so far and it is now important that we focus hard and give it our all for these three weeks and last five games.

"Some of the games are really mouth-watering when you look at them, and they start tomorrow night against a very, very good Bristol Rovers team.

"Although they are only three weeks away, any talk about Play-Offs now would be foolish at this point. Our only focus is on Bristol Rovers at the moment."

Rovers' recent revival under current boss John Ward has been probably one of the stories of the season in League 2. 

Bottom on Boxing Day, Rovers have amassed an impressive 40 points from Ward's 20 games since he succeeded Mark McGhee in December to leave them only five points away from seventh spot and with an outside chance of snatching a Play-Off spot themselves.

Rovers have won six out of their last eight, including four out of their previous five games, to help maintain their remarkable late run up the table.

With City also pretty high on confidence having won three out of their last four though, Parkin agrees that the stage is set for an entertaining and enthralling encounter.

Parkin added: "It is a recipe for a great game really.

"They (Bristol Rovers) are the in-form team at the moment, there is no doubt about that. Some of their results since John (Ward) has come in have been tremendous.

"We're coming off the back of some good performances ourselves, however, and we are really confident going into this game.

"We're not over-confident though, and there is a difference.

"The noise within the crowd was tremendous on Saturday (vs Northampton). The lads were commenting on it after the game and saying how much they enjoyed the incredible atmosphere.

"If we can recreate that tomorrow night, it would be great."

The trio of Andrew Davies, Rory McArdle and James Hanson were all at City's Woodhouse Grove training ground yesterday (Sunday) for treatment on minor bumps and bruises picked up against Northampton but all three should be fit for tomorrow night.

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