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Club News

Let's go again at home

7 March 2013

After collecting back-to-back clean sheets and four well-earned points on the road recently, Bantams boss Phil Parkinson is now targeting a return to form on home soil this Saturday when Aldershot Town arrive at the Coral Windows Stadium.

Positive results at York City and Port Vale over the course of the last week or so means Parkinson's men have now lost only two of their last ten away league fixtures stretching back to City's trip to Saturday's opponents Aldershot in early November.

At home, however, the Bantams' form unfortunately hasn't been so encouraging since around the turn of the year.

Aldershot's visit to Valley Parade at the weekend - City's FIFTIETH game of the campaign so far - will be one of seven home games still remaining for Parkinson's squad between now and the end of the regular season.

The Shots, buoyed by the recent arrival of former Rotherham manager Andy Scott, have emerged unscathed from clashes against Fleetwood Town, Chesterfield and Gillingham in their last three league matches.

But, with the backing of a vociferous home support though, Parkinson is still confident City can come out on top in this weekend's encounter if they put in the effort required. 

The Bantams chief said: "We've had two good results recently and they set us up nicely for our home game this weekend.

"We know that Aldershot will come into the match off the back of some decent form themselves - unbeaten in five - and playing with the renewed enthusiasm you get sometimes when a new manager comes in.

"We have to rise above all of that though.

"Looking at our home performances recently compared to the start of the season, if we're being totally honest, one or two players in certain games haven't been up to the level we need.

"We have to make Valley Parade a difficult place for opposition players to play in again.

"We have to make sure we get teams on the back-foot early in games and then keep them there.

"I feel it is just a case of us playing with that real desire that is needed, whether it be the eleven who start or the two or three who come off the bench. Everyone playing with that real determination and desire to win in front of our own fans.

"Anything less than that, it makes it difficult (to win) because, as we've said before, the margins are so tight in this division that you can't afford to give up an inch.

"The passion of the crowd can really help us again. They have been absolutely superb this season, and their support, especially at home, really does make a difference.

"As much as we talk about getting the most out of the players and the staff working as hard as they can to get the best from the lads during all these games we've had this season, the fans really do have their part to play still.

"They have backed us all over the country and followed us through all the games we've had this year, but we really need them again. They really can play a part in making Valley Parade a difficult place for visiting teams to come and play their football.

"Andy (Scott) has a lot of experience at this level and he has with him Terry Bullivant (assistant manager), who I have a massive amount of respect for as he was one of my managers at Reading during my playing days there. 

"We know it is going to be tough, but at the end of the game we want to be able to say that, despite the arrival of the new manager and the bit of confidence they've got because of it, we've gone above and beyond all that and still got the points.

"To do that it is going to take one almighty effort but that is what we are going to be demanding from the players."

Garry Thompson is fit enough to be in contention for selection despite taking a whack to the ribs at Port Vale on Tuesday, while James Meredith, who hasn't featured for City since New Year's Day due to glandular fever, has thankfully made a return to training this week.

Parkinson added: "He (James) is doing ok at the moment but obviously his base fitness is very low compared to where it should be because of the month-long period of rest he was instructed to have.

"We're pushing James has hard as we safely can though to get him to where he needs to be fitness-wise.

"We are keen to have James back as soon as he is right but, in fairness to Carl McHugh, he's been excellent recently in that left back position."


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