As we look forward to the FA Cup quarter-final game with Bradford on Saturday afternoon, he caught up with Bantams fan and season ticket holder, Chris Hilton
As we look forward to the FA Cup quarter-final game with Bradford on Saturday afternoon, he caught up with Bantams fan and season ticket holder, Chris Hilton (@ChrisHilton83). We ask Chris about Bradford’s superb cup run, their current league campaign, Phil Parkinson, among other topics.
1. If you could have hand-picked the quarter-final draw, who would you have picked?
Honestly this is the draw that I wanted, I know a lot of our fans wanted United away or at home and so did Phil Parkinson, but personally I think now we have had the glamour tie at Chelsea away and the Premier league team at home this gave us the best opportunity to get to Wembley. We’ve had two visits there in the past couple of years and as far as football occasions go watching your own team it doesn’t get much better.
2. Why do you reckon you have excelled so much in cup competitions in recent years?
I think a big part of the reason is Mr Parkinson. He makes us very very hard to beat and in all his time in charge we’ve only had a handful of games where we have been swept aside by the opposition, I think he breeds a sense of self belief and a massive work ethic into the players. The squad we have now is nearly completely different to the one from the Capital One cup run so it’s no coincidence I don’t think, obviously you do need a stroke of luck along the way as well.
3. How has your league campaign been going? Is play-offs the expectation for you?
League One is a very tight league this year, a couple of wins and you can be in the top 6 and a couple of losses and you’re lower mid table, anyone can beat anyone. Luckily for us we have had very good away form which has kept us up the higher end of the league. I think when we have our first choice 11 on the field we are one of the top 5 teams in the league, the problem we have is we have quite a small squad and when we have a couple of first teamers missing it really shows. Whether we make the play-offs or not will depend on how fit we can keep our first 11, if we do then yes, I think we can make the top 6.
4. If you could pick one – FA Cup final or promotion to the Championship?
Wow, tough question! I would have to say promotion, I think the league has to come before anything else, as fans we want to be watching our team in the highest league possible and The Championship is a very good standard these days and obviously our players & management team want to be challenging themselves at a better level. Be nice to have both of course but we cant be too greedy!!
5. Phil Parkinson is a legend in these parts and is making himself one at Bradford – describe the job he has done in his nearly four-year tenure?
Where do I start……What he has done for this club over the last four years I don’t think any of our fans could have envisaged. He came into our club when we were at an all time low, we nearly fell out of the football league, the team he inherited was one of the worst I’ve seen in my 20 years as a City supporter. I can’t speak highly enough of him, he cares deeply about the club, you can tell he has a great relationship with his players and most importantly he knows how to win, he adapts himself to whatever league he’s managing in. I hope he is in charge for a very long time to come, I think it’s also worth mentioning Steve Parkin’s part in the job as well, together they make a great team!
6. Which Bradford player(s) have been in form as of late?
There is a few that have caught the eye lately but if I were to pick one, I would say Filipe Morais, our right winger. He’s been in fantastic form and looks full of confidence, he’s scoring goals and creating them, we have got our fingers crossed that he is fully fit for Saturdays game! Others to watch out for would be Jon Stead, James Hanson, Billy Knott and Gary Liddle.
7. If you could take any Reading player, who would it be and why?
I would probably say Robson-Kanu, looks like a very tricky winger, proven at a higher level and International pedigree.
8. You made a lot of changes the other night, but won, what side do you expect to see this Saturday?
The only part of the team I am struggling to guess is the goalkeeper – Ben Williams has played in goal for all of the cup run because Jordan Pickford was cup tied, but as his parent club Sunderland are now out of the competition…..as we all know 🙂 He is eligible to play.
I think the side will be: Williams, Darby, Mcardle, Davies, Meredith, Morais, Liddle, Knott, Clarke, Stead, Hanson.
9. Prediction for the game?
I think it will be a very tight affair, our pitch is shocking at the minute and believe me it does not suit our style of play at all, we would much prefer to be playing on a nice surface like Stamford Bridge every week BUT we are a little more used to it than opposing teams will be, I think the game will finish 2-1 to us……..but then again I would say that! Whatever happens on Saturday this cup run will live on long in the memory and the atmosphere of a packed out Valley Parade is something to savour.
All the best & Enjoy the game!