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PARKINSON WELCOMES COMPETITION FOR PLACES

31 March 2016

Bantams boss Phil Parkinson believes that the strong competition for places currently within the squad can only be a good thing, as he assesses his options ahead of Saturday's match with Scunthorpe United at the Coral Windows Stadium.

With long-term injury victims Paul Anderson and Filipe Morais now back into the first team fold, Parkinson will once again be able to call upon the services of Lee Evans and Josh Cullen as well this weekend after the pair returned from international duty.

Reece Burke is also expected to be back in contention after being rested for Easter Monday's victory at Crewe Alexandra. Kyel Reid is a slight doubt for City though with a chest infection. 

Parkinson said: "Picking the right team and the right bench for Saturday is obviously going to be important.

"There is good competition for places and we are going to need that as we go into this final run-in.

"It is good to have Lee, Josh and Reece back in contention but, equally, the lads who came into the side in their absence did very well.

"Chris (Routis) came in at Crewe and was excellent, as we expected he would be. Tom (Thorpe) and Billy (Knott) were both tremendous over the Easter weekend.

"It was a huge effort from Tom to play two games in three days having not had much first team lately and Billy looked back to his best - that is a huge lift for us.

"Training has been good this week. Ando (Paul Anderson) and Filipe being back in the mix with the enthusiasm for the game that they bring has certainly upped the ante on the training ground.

"Their determination to get back into the side is there for all to see. Other players around them are responding as well.

"Filipe played well in the reserves on Wednesday (vs Wrexham) - he looked in great shape physically. Both Filipe and Paul have been training with the squad for over three weeks now - it is going to be hard for me to hold them back for much longer.

"We have a day or two now before Saturday and it will give us the chance to assess a couple of situations. We've had players away on international duty recently, (Kyel) Reidy has a chest infection, so we need to make sure we pick a side that is fully capable of putting in a really committed display."

In a further boost to the Bantams ahead of Scunthorpe's visit to Valley Parade, Parkinson confirmed that Rory McArdle is back in the reckoning once again now following the central defender's recent shoulder problem.

Parkinson said: 'Rory has trained all this week so he is back in the squad.

"He has looked fine out there - it is great to have another key character back out on the training pitch.

"He has been an important player for us over recent years and he will be again in this run-in so it is great to get him back."

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