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PARKINSON PRAISES CITY'S 'OUTSTANDING' ENERGY LEVELS

10 February 2015

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson was full of praise for the energy levels shown by his players this Monday evening as they swept aside promotion hopefuls Milton Keynes Dons in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Despite playing only two days earlier at Port Vale, Parkinson's men produced another lung-bursting effort to come from behind and deservedly defeat MK Dons at the Coral Windows Stadium.

The Dons' Dele Alli had given the visitors the lead against the run of play roughly ten minutes after the break but the recalled Billy Clarke quickly equalised for the Bantams.

James Hanson then completed the come-back twenty minutes from the end when he latched onto Jon Stead's through-ball to slot past Dons 'keeper David Martin.

The win means City have now claimed the league 'double' over Karl Robinson's side for the second successive season.

Parkinson said: "I have to say that the energy levels from the team tonight (Monday) were outstanding.

"Looking at tonight's match, I don't think you could tell we'd had a game only two days before on a massive pitch (Vale Park).

"When you are the home team in that second game in three days, it can be hard because the onus is on you to play on the front-foot and in a positive fashion.

"We needed a really energetic performance and the lads did that really well tonight.

"Credit must go to the lads for the way they train and look after themselves. Nick Allamby (City's Head of Sports Performance and Fitness) must also take a lot of credit for his meticulous preparation and planning.

"I spoke to the lads at half time and asked them how they felt. They all said they felt great so I said to them 'come on then, let's keep going and really take the game to them'.

"Going a goal down against the run of play, especially after the late equaliser we had to endure at Port Vale on Saturday, I think a lesser group of players might have started to feel sorry for themselves.

"We didn't though, and we deservedly got the win.

"We had chances to get that third to finish the game off but in someways it was also a good character test for the lads.

"You could tell at two-one that they weren't prepared to let it slip tonight.

"We can now enjoy the build up to Sunday's (Sunderland F.A Cup) tie and go into that game, in front of a full house, and really play with no fear.

"We have nothing to lose and everything to gain - we are going to relish the occasion."

Clarke - the scorer of City's equalising goal - was making his first start for the Bantams in the Milton Keynes Dons match since injuring his knee against Scunthorpe United just before Christmas.

Parkinson said: "We brought Billy Clarke back in. We just felt we needed a bit of a spark and something different. It also allowed us to drop Billy Knott back into central midfield.

"Andy Halliday was unlucky not to start but me and Steve (Parkin) had a chat when we got in for the game tonight and we both just felt we needed to shake things up slightly for this one.

"I felt Billy got better as the game wore on and deservedly got his goal.

"Before he got his injury, Billy was playing so well for us, he was almost undroppable.

"He is a very good footballer. He has a great footballing brain and he gives us real technical ability in the team.

"I am so pleased for him to get his goal."

Despite being sent off at the weekend at Port Vale, Jordan Pickford kept his place in goal for the MK Dons match after City successfully appealed against his two-game ban on Sunday evening.

A scuffed kick from Pickford unfortunately played its part in the visitors' opener but the young shot-stopper redeemed himself later in the match with a stunning reaction save to keep City in the lead.

Parkinson added: "When you look back at their goal, the pitch hasn't helped Jordan but, in fairness to him, he has produced a superb save at two-one to keep us in the lead of the game.

"It was an important moment in the game, and I am pleased for Jordan because he is a brilliant young goalkeeper.

"We appealed against his red card at Port Vale on Saturday really as a point of principle.

"We didn't appeal against his Rochdale card, even though we thought we could have got the ban overturned, because he was only going to miss the cup match (Millwall F.A Cup third round replay) which he would have sat out anyway.

"Speaking with Julian (Rhodes) on Sunday though, we just didn't want two red cards against his name now, especially when you look at the current climate and some goalkeeper are not even getting yellow cards for bringing people down in the box.

"Ben Williams was ready to play if needed and he will now come into the team for Sunday's game."


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