Sit back and enjoy the summer

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By Matt Briggs

With the biggest deal of the summer already in the bag at Valley Parade, we can look forward to a relaxing couple of months.

Phil Parkinson’s new three-year contract was up and away the most crucial piece of business this summer and now we can sit back and watch his close-season recruitment, which is likely to be focused on quality rather than quantity.

It was a policy which paid dividends in 2012/13 and one which Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn have already indicated they will roll out again next term. And it’s hard to disagree with that, despite the club’s bulging bank balance after the League Cup run.

The widely held opinion is that the squad is strong enough to hold its own in the league above and, with two or three shrewd signings, I genuinely think we could be challenging for the play offs again.

The club will be desperate to snap up Andrew Davies, who was the ‘real’ man-of-the-match at Wembley, and Nathan Doyle on new contracts, and after Parkinson, those two deals could be the most important of the summer.

It’s safe to say there will be no revolution, despite moving up a division, and why should there be after marching to promotion from the bottom tier after a mammoth 64-game season?

All of last season’s promoted teams managed survival in League One. Swindon finished 6th, Crawley 10th, Crewe 13th and Shrewsbury 16th. Without another unprecedented cup run – and I’m sure City would have been promoted automatically without our run to the Wembley cup final – the Bantams could easily be troubling the top 10 again.

Keeping hold of striking duo James Hanson and Nakhi Wells is obviously crucial, but I am already curious as to how the pair will do in England’s third tier. The duo finished the season strongly and, if they can get close to their 41-goal haul again, City will be there or thereabouts.

But despite the apparent strength of City’s first-choice forward line, Parky does need to strengthen it and he’s likely to make another striker his number one priority.

Alan Connell might well be suited to League One football. Swindon didn’t fancy him, but there again Paolo Di Canio was the man at the helm, but it would be no surprise to see Andy Gray’s contract severed this summer. Gray’s arrival has been the only blot on Parkinson’s transfer business and the 18-month deal he penned in January might well be consigned to the rubbish bin in the next month or so.

If that proves to be the case then the club will definitely be in the market for another frontman. Add to that a goalscoring midfielder and a stronger goalkeeper and Parky’s recruitment drive might well be over.

Matt Briggs writes for www.TEAMtalk.com, you can follow Matt on Twitter @MattPBriggs

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Categories: Opinion

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2 replies

  1. Fair comments, and Gray may well move on – but just for the record he put in a good display at Cheltenham and combined well with Connell (before he had to be sacrificed due to the red card). Yet another example of PP getting the best out of “squad” players who otherwise may well have sulked.

  2. At the risk of being pilloried , can I counsel some caution here? Its been a fantastic season and the club, team , supporters etc etc have over performed and we have all enjoyed a magical season.
    Cast your mind back 12 months and we were nearly out of the league; Parky made the difference with some shrewd signings and great management of his players.He will continue to exert his professional influence on events at VP, but we are now in a League with a number of clubs who have better players and better resources than we can bring to bear in the short term and I think it would be very unfair to burden PP with unrealistic expectations.That is not to be unambitious;I think it is realistic.
    If we can surprise a few by reaching the heights of possible promotion come May next year, then great! But lets not overburden our talented Manager with unrealistic expectations.A year in League One would be a considerable achievement.

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