Parkinson puts talks on hold
Bradford manager Phil Parkinson has put all talk of a new contract on hold as he plots a route past Aston Villa in the return leg of tonight's Capital One Cup semi-final, and a fairytale trip to Wembley.
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Parkinson, 45, out of contract at Valley Parade in the summer, is also mapping an escape path out of League Two, but all talk of promotion, at Villa Park at least, will also be placed on the backburner.
The Bantams, who will defend a 3-1 first-leg lead, stand on the threshold of another historic victory, being as they are just one game away from becoming the first club in the bottom tier of English football to reach Wembley in a major cup final.
Since Parkinson's side embarked on the greatest giantkilling run in modern times, including famous victories over Wigan, Arsenal and Villa, his future has remained unresolved, but the former Colchester, Hull and Charlton boss and Bradford's joint chairman Mark Lawn are not unduly concerned.
"We're currently in negotiations," Lawn said. "We want to keep Phil here and will pay him as much as we possibly can.
"We're a fourth-tier club and can't pay him mega-bucks. We won't be getting ourselves in financial trouble and going the same way this club went before.
"I've stated before on many occasions, I won't ever take Bradford City into administration.
"The main thing with the contract talks is that we've got games on a Saturday and Tuesday right through and we can't get time to talk.
"Phil doesn't want to take his eye off the ball. We need a couple of clear days to get it completed.
"But it will certainly be before Easter when something is sorted."
Turning his attention to tonight's return leg at Villa Park, Lawn added: "My heart says extra time and we win on penalties.
"I just know we're not going to do it the easy way, they'll put me through the wringer and I'm ready for it."
Rarely does a club from the lower divisions capture the country's imagination in a cup competition in the manner Bradford have done this season, and if Lawn's hunch proves correct and the tie does head for penalties, Parkinson's boys should not flinch.
They are already the shootout kings of British football, winning their ninth successive spot-kick showdown when defeating Arsenal 3-2 in the quarter-finals.
"It's been incredible," Lawn said. "You've got to look at where we've come from, where we are in the league. The effort has been amazing.
"The backroom staff and the cleaning ladies down at the training ground, I'd like to say a big thank you from the fans and the club.
"It's been beyond our wildest dreams. A very close friend of mine who sat next to me in the first leg said the return at Villa Park is our Wembley final.
"That's the way I'll be approaching it. My head says anything else is a bonus."
Bradford's only major honour was achieved back in 1911, when they beat Newcastle 1-0 in an FA Cup final replay at Old Trafford after a goalless draw at Crystal Palace.
Should the impossible be made possible at Villa Park tomorrow, it will be the club's second Wembley appearance in its 110-year history after Chris Kamara, more famous for his Sky Sports punditry, led them to an old Second Division play-off final win against Notts County in 1996.
Eager to keep it all in perspective, Lawn said: "That was the old Wembley. It would be the club's first trip to the new Wembley.
"It would also be the first time a club from the fourth division, or whatever you want to call it, have ever reached Wembley in a cup final.
"Rochdale got to the League Cup final back in 1962, they actually lost to Aston Villa, but the final then was played at home and away."