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Parkinson takes the positives

15 January 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson says there were positives to take out of City's Johnstone's Paint Trophy Area Semi-Final at Crewe Alexandra despite being knocked out of the competition by the League 1 side.

Featuring as many as eight changes from the weekend's league fixture with Oxford United, Parkinson's side were right in the contest for the majority of the tie until two late goals sealed a 4-1 victory for Crewe.

Parkinson used the tie as an opportunity to rest up several players within his squad who have been carrying knocks in recent weeks, with the likes of Ricky Ravenhill, Ritchie Jones and loan duo Blair Turgott and Curtis Good given a chance to impress.

Tom Naylor - fresh from signing an extension to his loan deal earlier that day - and recent signings Andy Gray and Ryan Dickson were also given more match minutes at the Alexandra Stadium.

Impressed by a number of the performances from his recalled players, Parkinson understandably felt that the final scoreline was an unfair reflection on the match itself.

Parkinson said: "We know 4-1 certainly wasn't a true reflection of the balance of play tonight."

"We threw Carl McHugh up front and went three at the back towards the end - we had to give it a go - and he nearly scored with a header just past the post.

"On the back of that though, you are always going to leave the backdoor slightly open as a result.

"If we going to go out, you might as well go out by having a go, and we know that those two late goals they got at the end wasn't true showing of how the game had been played previously.

"I thought there were so many good things to come out of tonight.

"I thought Curtis and Tom were immense at the back, and it was good to see Andy Gray and Ryan Dickson push on a bit more from the weekend.

"They both haven't played too much recently, but what better way to get your match fitness than in the first team?

"(Kyel) Reidy has got a goal as well, which is great for him because he's the type of player who feeds off the confidence he picks up from creating goals and scoring goals.

"It's just a shame we seemingly couldn't get enough of the ball to him in the second half. I thought he had the beating of their right back but the quality of the ball into him perhaps wasn't quite up there.

"Crewe are a good side and we have taken them all the way really tonight."

With temperatures dipping below freezing well before kick off, the tie itself was played out in bitterly cold conditions.

The conditions were so cold in fact, Parkinson admitted post-match that there had been an element of doubt over the game before kick off.

Parkinson added: "I went to see the referee before the match and I asked him if he was happy with the pitch."

"He said he had checked it this afternoon and it was nice and soft. I was thinking, however, he clearly hadn't been out there recently because it was getting harder before the game.

"Nick Allamby, our Sports Science, had been doing some fitness drills with Tommo (Garry Thompson) pre-match and he came into the dressing room and said he didn't feel the pitch was right to play on.

"We wanted the match on if we could have helped it though given our upcoming fixtures, so I'm glad it went ahead and I just wish we could have found a way through."

With new boys Gray and Dickson in City's line up against Crewe, Parkinson confirmed after the full time whistle at the Alexandra Stadium that the club would soon be welcoming a third new face this January transfer window in the form of centre half Michael Nelson.

Nelson, 32, has agreed to join City from Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock, with the 6' 2''defender's eighteen-month contract scheduled to be rubber-stamped this Wednesday.

Parkinson revealed: "Michael is an important signing for us to make."

"We have a relatively young back-four here at the moment and Michael will bring a bit of experience with him into the football club.

"We need someone of Michael's experience to get us through some of the tough fixtures that we have coming up in the second half of the season.

"Michael knows his way around a football pitch - he's tough, he's a leader and he will talk on the pitch and help our young players around him." 

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