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Positive play

3 October 2013

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson has declared that City will go on the attack this Saturday when they travel to Walsall - even without the services of star striker Nahki Wells.

Wells is set to miss out on the Bantams' trip to Walsall's Banks's Stadium after limping off injured during last weekend's dramatic victory over Shrewsbury Town with an ankle problem.

Despite the expected absence of the club's top-scorer though, Parkinson has promised that the Bantams will continue where they left off at Gillingham in their previous away game by going into Saturday's game with a positive mindset.

As Parkinson has mentioned on a number of occasions before, he considers his Bradford side to be far more than just a one-man team, and the City chief says that he is confident with the Bantams' other attacking options at his disposal going into the weekend.

Opponents Walsall, like City, have started their League 1 campaign by collecting a series of good results under their belts, although the majority of them have come away from home.

With the Saddlers sitting just three points behind the Bantams in the table and impressive recent results against Wolves and Leyton Orient to their name, Parkinson acknowledges that City will have plenty of respect for their hosts this Saturday.

As City look to continue to take their attacking brand of football on the road, however, the Bantams boss says City will certainly not go to Walsall in fear though.

Parkinson said: "We will go there in good spirits after recent results."

"Walsall have had some good results themselves of late and we know that we will have to be right at our best because they are a good side.

"We will go there looking to play in the same manner that we did in the second half against Shrewsbury.

"It is a game where we are going to go into it in a positive frame of mind. We are at our best when we play like that.

"We also know, however, that Walsall will probably have that extra man in midfield with the formation they use and that there maybe times when they have a good bit of possession and we have to be patient.

"It will be a day where we will have to be very disciplined when we don't have the ball. We will be reminding the lads of their roles in the build up to this match.

"Equally though, we have to look to commit Walsall's defenders when we have possession of the ball and make it hard for them like we have been doing over recent weeks.

"We certainly have that quality in our team to make problems for the opposition in that final third of the pitch.

"We respect Walsall greatly, but we certainly don't fear them because we have confidence in our own ability as a team.

"We just have to focus on producing a really good performance down there. Nothing less than that will get us the points - we have to play in a committed fashion. If we do that, we'll give ourselves a really good chance."


Parkinson added: "We have had a good run with injuries so far this season - we have more or less picked the same team for a lot of the league games - but you are going to get injuries over the course of a year.

"We've lost Nahki at the moment - I don't think it will be for too long - and we have plenty of other players who can come in and take his position.

"Obviously Mark Yeates came off the bench on Saturday (vs Shrewsbury) and grew into the position as the game progressed, while we also have Caleb Folan now available to us, plus Alan Connell, Garry Thompson, Raffaele De Vita and Andy Gray who can play in attack as well. We have plenty of options.

"Myself and the staff will sit down over the next twenty-four hours and hopefully make the right call as to how we are going to play down there.

"Football is a squad game, and it is about players within that squad coming in and making their mark. That happened in the second half against Shrewsbury and we'll need that to happen again."

While Wells is scheduled to miss the bus to Walsall, Parkinson admits he will also have to check over the fitness of a few other members of his squad before picking his side to take on the Saddlers.

Rory McArdle has only just returned to training after missing the Shrewsbury win with a stomach bug, while Gary Jones (hamstring) and Garry Thompson (Achilles) reported minor injuries earlier this week.

Parkinson continued: "This week we've had a few niggles."

"Gary Jones and Garry Thompson have both been out of training for a bit but Rozzer (Rory McArdle) is back with us after his illness.

"You are going to pick up bumps and bruises throughout the season, but they seem to have come all at the same time for us this week.

"We have to make sure that we go into the match on Saturday not carrying anyone. We don't need to because we have other players who can step in.

"Any players selected for this weekend will really have to convince me and Steve (Parkin) that they are ready to go flat out."


One player almost certain to start, however, is in-form winger Kyel Reid.

Since being handed a starting berth at Stevenage in late August, Reid has been one of City's key attacking threats and his form recently earned him a nomination for Sky Bet League 1's Player of the Month for September.

Parkinson says Reid's impressive performances of late have been as a result of good old fashioned hard work from the winger.

The Bantams chief: "I have been pleased with Kyel recently - he is progressing well.

"It is no coincidence that the gym work he has been doing before training to strengthen up his hamstrings and groins has seen his level in training right up there. It is no surprise to me then that he is bringing that into games.

"When you train well you tend to bring that level of performance into games."



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