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IT WAS A GOOD WORK-OUT

26 July 2014

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson declared himself happy with his side's work this Saturday after their latest pre-season friendly against Blackburn Rovers.

On a hot and humid afternoon at the Coral Windows Stadium, City held off the heat and their Championship visitors to pick up a commendable goalless draw from their penultimate friendly of the summer.

After a first period probably edged slightly by Rovers, Parkinson's men certainly seemed to enjoy the better of proceedings after the break, creating most of the scoring chances throughout the half in the process.

With Blackburn almost certainly rated as the toughest and most high profile of City's pre-season opponents so far, Parkinson was pleased with how the Bantams coped during the match in terms of their fitness levels and the quality of their play.

Parkinson said: "It was a big step-up for us from the Shelbourne game and I felt we coped with it pretty well.

"I said leading up to the game that I felt we'd learn a lot more about ourselves after a match like this. It was a step-up today to play a Championship side like Blackburn and I felt physically we coped with the game quite well.

"We looked in good shape, which is obviously pleasing at this stage of pre-season.

"We still have two weeks of training to go (until the first game of the season) but physically I felt we looked in a good place.

"In the second half we have restricted them to very little and we had one or two good moments in and around their box. We've had a couple of decent strikes on goal that we maybe could have done better with.

"We looked threatening at times - obviously we want the boys to look even more threatening - but there was a lot of good aspects to our play today (Saturday).

"We know what we have to do to improve. Pre-season is a learning curve, especially when you bring in a group of new players, and we are learning all the time."

Despite the fact that top striker Jordan Rhodes was missing from their travelling party, Rovers still possessed a number of talented attackers within their ranks at the Coral Windows Stadium.

With that in mind, Parkinson was encouraged to see how his back four worked together to shut Blackburn out for the whole game.

Parkinson added: "Defensively, I was really pleased with us.

"In the last game we played with this group against Shelbourne, we had very little to do defensively.

"We'd spoken to some of the defenders in the week leading up to today to tell them that this game would be completely different to the Shelbourne match. Some of the blocks and tackles we put in today were outstanding.

"Rory (McArdle) and Andrew Davies' ability to block things in and around the box and their desire to get themselves in the way of shots is right up there with some of the defenders from higher divisions.

"It was pleasing that we had that mentality to work as a team today to get that clean-sheet."

On top of dealing with their higher-ranked Lancashire visitors, Parkinson's squad also had manage temperatures climbing up into the late twenties on one of the hottest days of the year.

The Bantams chief continued: "It was a test but it could be like this for the first few weeks of the season as well. It was good for the boys to get through something like that today then.

"It has been like that all this week in training as well. We had a practice game on Thursday in similar heat to this.

"The weather today will have drained the players a bit but it was a good test for the lads and a good work-out ahead of the season."

With City's Sky Bet League 1 opener against Coventry City now only two weeks away, both Stephen Darby and Rory McArdle were given the full match distance.

Parkinson said that he had looked at giving a few more of his side ninety minutes but his desire to look at some trialists and the need to rest a couple of players carrying knocks prevented that from happening.

Raffaele De Vita had to come off just before half time with an apparent injury, while Gary Liddle took a whack during the second half following a late challenge.

Parkinson added: "Davo (Andrew Davies) could have stretched to ninety (minutes) as well but we just wanted a bit of a look at Chris(topher Routis).

"Lids (Gary Liddle) got a bit of a whack in the second half so we just wanted to protect him as well.

"The two front men (James Hanson and Billy Clarke) had worked hard up there so we gave the youngsters (Lewis Clarkson and Oliver McBurnie) a chance.

"We had a couple of knocks from today because of a few challenges flying in out there. In someways, however, you might want that because you want to get the feeling of a competitive game.

"Obviously we don't want anyone getting injured but we want to try and recreate a proper game with the tackles flying in when we play these pre-season friendlies.

"We want to replicate what will happen in a couple of weeks time when league football returns. I felt there was a good competitive edge to the game.

"It wasn't just an exercise of keep-ball, it was two sides wanting to do well. As I say, we've got a few bumps in there (the dressing room) but you'd expect that on a normal Saturday."


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