Wembley on Parkinson's mind

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson is hoping his side can call on their Capital One Cup experience as they plot a return to Wembley in the play-offs.

Last Updated: 01/05/13 at 16:17

Phil Parkinson: Eyeing a return to Wembley

Phil Parkinson: Eyeing a return to Wembley

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The Bantams, who saw off Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa in a magical cup run earlier this season, face Burton in a two-legged semi-final tie, with the first leg at Valley Parade on Thursday.

Their home was a fortress during that run to Wembley and Parkinson is hoping for more of the same in the end-of-season showpiece.

"We have a group of players who have played this season in front of full houses and when the cameras have been there, and relished it all," he said. "I fully expect us to do the same again.

"As I said throughout our cup run, the whole experience of playing in the big games and dealing with the big occasions will help our younger players in their careers.

"We now have another opportunity to play in a game of a similar magnitude to our cup matches."

Bradford's run to the play-offs came after a strong late-season surge of form, including a 1-0 win over the Brewers 11 days ago, and they come up against a side who finished fourth in the table.

Much of Gary Rowett's men's success this year came courtesy of their home form - which was the best in the division - so Parkinson knows his side have to do the job on their home soil before heading to the Pirelli Stadium.

"Clearly we will be going out looking to win the game, but we do that all the time anyway. When they came here in the league recently, Burton came with a cautious approach," he added.

"I think Gary will look at that and say that it worked to a certain degree because it was a tight game that was probably decided by one mistake and a sending off.

"As the away team, you could be forgiven for thinking that they will line up slightly cautiously again. We have to do the exact opposite.

"We have to be ready to attack at every opportunity and get the crowd off their seats and right behind us."

Burton boss Rowett admits he is wary of Bradford after the West Yorkshire side timed their play-off push to perfection.

The Bantams' Capital One Cup run had left them playing catch-up in the league but after just two defeats in their last 15 matches Parkinson's team overhauled Exeter to finish in seventh spot.

Rowett said: "The side coming up on the rails can be the most dangerous in the play-offs.

"Bradford sneaking in might give them the impetus but having played them recently, I wouldn't fear them. We'll give them lots of respect but we won't fear them.

"We committed football suicide up there the other week. We gave them a goal out of nothing and then we gave them a man advantage with (Lee Bell's) red card. A crazy two minutes before half-time cost us the game."

Burton's away form this season has been in stark contrast to that at the Pirelli Stadium.

The Brewers lost 11 times on their travels and finished the campaign with just one win from their last six on the road.

At home, Rowett's side won 17 of their 23 fixtures and were beaten on only three occasions.

"We've been working on a few things to try to remedy it and going up to Bradford there are one or two things that we might do differently," said Rowett.

"You know at Bradford that if you let them take the early impetus, with the crowd there, you can find yourselves three or four goals down.

"If you can quell the tide and defend properly - and we're going to have to defend a little bit better at times to keep the game tight and give us something to play for in the second leg - then you can get something.

"If we can get them back here I believe we can beat anyone, as we've proved this season."

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