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Parky plots Wembley return

27 February 2013

By Tony Leighton

Bradford City have the perfect antidote for the disappointment of Sunday's 5-0 Capital One Cup Final defeat by Swansea City - build a run to take them back to Wembley for the npower League 2 Play-Off final at the end of the season.

Though the Bantams' fairy-tale journey in The Football League's major Cup competition came at a price - Phil Parkinson's team slipping from seventh in the table to 13th and 11 points below the Play-Off places since New Year's Day - there is still belief at Valley Parade that promotion to League 1 can be achieved.

As they prepare for their return to League action with a home game against Dagenham & Redbridge on Wednesday evening they have four games in hand on the club currently sitting in the lowest of the Play-Off places, Cheltenham Town.

And manager Parkinson is sure he can lift his players from their downbeat mood immediately after Sunday's Wembley trouncing to start a run that can bridge the gap to take them back up the table in the last couple of months of the campaign.

"We've got 15 games left," points out Parkinson, "and that's a large chunk of the season. There are scenarios like having a good Cup run that can affect your League form, especially when you've got a small squad.

"But we've got a third of the season left and I believe that we've got a good enough squad to put together a really good run and mount a challenge - we're going to take every game in a positive mind and see where that takes us."

Bold words from the manager, who has spent much of his time since Sunday soothing bruised egos as the Bantams turn their attention from the glamour of a Wembley Cup final back to the bread and butter of their League 2 programme.

Parkinson's team have won only one League match so far this year, but the manager insists: "Come the Dagenham match we'll be ready to go again because I'll make sure that everybody understands the importance of this game.

"We're a better team than we showed on Sunday, but I've told the lads to get their heads up because what they've achieved [in the Capital One Cup] is outstanding - and I firmly believe that this team is good enough to be higher in The Football League than where we are at the moment."

Parkinson also believes that the long term future of the club can be firmly under-pinned by the significant financial rewards gained through his team's Capital Cup run. "There's huge potential here," says the manager.

"The big picture for us as a club is the revenue that we've had from the Cup run. When a League 2 club enters the Capital One Cup it never expects to get to the final, so the money we've earned is beyond our wildest dreams.

"It can strengthen this club for years to come. We've got a lot of money which we wouldn't expect in normal circumstances. Now, between the chairman and myself, we've got to make sure we use that money wisely to build a strong structure for the future - and the club is ready to move forward."

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