FA Cup: Phil Parkinson claims psychology favours Bradford in replay at Reading

Parkinson admitted the push for a place in the League One play-offs had made team selection at Meadow Lane tricky

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The Independent Football

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson believes his side have already won one psychological battle before tonight’s FA Cup quarter-final replay at Reading.

Both sides made wholesale changes to their Saturday line-ups in order to combat the frantic fixture scheduling, and it was the Bradford second string who came out better in a gutsy 1-1 draw at Notts County.

Reading manager Steve Clarke sent out a team entirely unrecognisable from the one that earned a draw at Valley Parade in the Cup last week and saw them slump to a 4-1 defeat at Watford.

Parkinson admitted the push for a place in the League One play-offs had made team selection at Meadow Lane tricky, but he is convinced the respective weekend performances will have given his own side a lift.

“I think Reading had an advantage because they are not going to go up or down whereas we’ve got to make sure we’re still fighting on two fronts,”Parkinson said. “Reading were able to make more changes but they got thumped, which won’t help them. When we’ve made changes we’ve got results and that will give everybody a lift because the lads who came in are walking around with a spring in their step.

“I think we got it right. I was pleased with the balance of the team [against Notts County] and I thought all the lads who came in actually added something in terms of freshness.”

Both Parkinson and Clarke have clear made their feelings about the scheduling of the replay, which is due primarily to a ruling that domestic games must not clash with Uefa competitions.

But Parkinson hopes to be able to bring back all the first-team players who have starred in their improbable Cup run so far. Striker Jon Stead showed a welcome return to form with the opening goal at Meadow Lane on Saturday.

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