Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson fully focused on League Cup glory

 

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson has broken with convention by claiming he would take a cup triumph over league success.

Parkinson's task at the start of the season was to execute a rebuilding exercise that would begin the process of restoring Bradford to their former status as a Premier League club.

As that experience almost killed the club first time round, no-one was expecting a repeat to be a quick process.

Yet Bradford's present position of 11th in League Two would be a source of satisfaction for no-one had it not been for a quite extraordinary Capital One Cup run, which reaches its climax against Swansea at Wembley on Sunday.

So far, Parkinson's side have claimed three Premier League scalps in Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

And while some may prefer to talk about the bread and butter of weekly league combat, the 45-year-old from Chorley has his sights firmly set on the record books.

"All along the league has been our priority. I cannot hide away from that," he said. "But we are in the final at Wembley and have a chance of getting into Europe.

"So I can honestly say now, if we had the choice of two things, it would have to be winning the cup.

"We are a League Two team. We have created history by getting this far. It would be truly amazing if we could pull it off."

And how would Bradford handle that? Possibly an unexpected insurance premium for a start to ensure a trophy - something Arsene Wenger has not got his hands on for eight years remember - can be protected properly.

Perhaps a map of Europe to plot a Europa League campaign that may well start in July and end in August.

Of far greater importance though is investment to push the club forward, with the present run having already cleared historic debts that have dragged Bradford down since the days of Benito Carbone, Stan Collymore and the Premier League.

"The chairman has done a great job clearing the debts but now it is their job - and mine - to ensure this extra revenue is used to keep improving the structure of the club and make sure our supporters have a club that will flourish in years to come," Parkinson added.

"As much as we want to enjoy this weekend, it is really important this revenue is used wisely. I am sure it will be."

This is a unique experience for Bradford, but also for Parkinson.

He has spent some time this week on the phone to old friend Alan Pardew to get some idea of what plans to make, while assistant Steve Parkin did the same thing with Sam Allardyce.

But one of Parkinson's key tasks comes from personal experience.

In 1995 he was suffering from a knee injury when Reading reached the play-off final against Bolton at Wembley, forcing him to miss the Royals' Wembley defeat.

So Luke Oliver, whose campaign was ended by a snapped Achilles in October, will very much be part of the event.

"We have to make sure he is a part of it," Parkinson said. "For Luke that is the next best thing.

"My own experience means everybody, whether it is someone who comes in one day a week to help the physio out, or is there every day, has to be involved."

Parkinson could never have expected to be in the position of telling some of those who are fit they have not made the cut.

Neither could anyone have prepared him for the team talk he must make before 4pm on Sunday, knowing the mental preparation will be almost as important as what goes on once the match of his players' lives actually starts.

"Are we going to get any fitter this week? Probably not," he said.

"Mentally we have come through some big games; Wigan, Arsenal, two against Aston Villa. But this is another level above that.

"The next challenge is can we handle the big one, at Wembley. I am ready for that and I am confident my players will meet it too."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea