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League One

Phil Parkinson: Scrap is on for survival

26 March 2014

Manager Phil Parkinson has warned his Bradford City players they are fighting for Sky Bet League 1 survival after a 2-0 home defeat against Walsall left them six points above the relegation zone.

Two second-half goals from Craig Westcarr sealed their fate and gave the visitors a deserved win that ends a run of 10 matches without a victory.

Bradford were booed off the field and Parkinson said: "It was an ineffective performance as I can remember in terms of attempts on goal and crosses.

"I cannot blame the supporters for booing us off the pitch. We all deserved it tonight, especially me because I pick the team and set us up. They have backed us so well and they have the right to criticise.

"We have eight games to go and we have got to make sure we get through them, but we will only do that if we scrap for it. We are in a scrap and we have got to play in that manner. We have got a mighty challenge in front of us.

"We have got some tough away games starting with Leyton Orient on Saturday and we have got to be ready for them, but we won't win on Saturday if we play like we did tonight.

"We have got to find some energy and drive and that rests with me.

"The game had the look of a 0-0 draw before Walsall scored their first goal. I was disappointed there was a lack of reaction from us to get back in the game when we went behind."

A major concern for Parkinson is the fitness of leading scorer James Hanson, who was relegated to the bench because of an on-going back problem. Parkinson said Hanson was only 60 to 65 per cent fit, but he was put on the bench "because we needed him."

Hanson replaced Andy Gray after 60 minutes, but made little impact as Bradford fell behind after 68 minutes, when Westcarr beat goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin to Andrew Taylor's left-wing cross to poke the ball into the net.

Westcarr then put the result beyond doubt after 78 minutes with his 14th goal of the season, scoring with a looping shot from the edge of the penalty area after some neat build-up play on the right by James Baxendale and James McQuilkin.

Walsall manager Dean Smith said: "It seems a long time since we last won, but this was a deserved victory. We played some good stuff. It was a good performance, we kept the ball really well and frustrated Bradford, restricting them to very few chances.

"We defended really well and I was pleased to keep a clean sheet.

"It was a really good performance from Craig Westcarr. Hopefully there will be some more goals from him in the next few weeks."


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