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Capital One Cup Final - Bradford V Swansea at Wembley Stadium : Match Preview

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Updated 23 Feb 2013 23:51:44

Capital One Cup Final - Bradford V Swansea at Wembley Stadium : Match Preview

Bradford V Swansea - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Parkinson fully focused on cup glory

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson has broken with convention by claiming he would take a cup triumph over league success.

Parkinson's task at the start of the season was to execute a rebuilding exercise that would begin the process of restoring Bradford to their former status as a Premier League club.

As that experience almost killed the club first time round, no-one was expecting a repeat to be a quick process.

Yet Bradford's present position of 11th in League Two would be a source of satisfaction for no-one had it not been for a quite extraordinary Capital One Cup run, which reaches its climax against Swansea at Wembley on Sunday.

So far, Parkinson's side have claimed three Premier League scalps in Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

And while some may prefer to talk about the bread and butter of weekly league combat, the 45-year-old from Chorley has his sights firmly set on the record books.

"All along the league has been our priority. I cannot hide away from that," he said. "But we are in the final at Wembley and have a chance of getting into Europe.

"So I can honestly say now, if we had the choice of two things, it would have to be winning the cup.

"We are a League Two team. We have created history by getting this far. It would be truly amazing if we could pull it off."

Rory McArdle could be in contention. The 25-year-old, who hurt his ankle at Fleetwood nearly three weeks ago, returned to training earlier this week as he continues to try and push himself back into the squad in time.

Should McArdle pass a late fitness test he is still likely to face competition from the fit-again Andrew Davies, plus fellow centre-backs Michael Nelson and Carl McHugh.

Zavon Hines is pushing for a place on the wing despite not featuring in City's previous two league games.

Michael Laudrup has revealed how the genius of Johan Cruyff has helped him put Swansea on the brink of winning their first major piece of silverware.

The Dane will lead the Swans out at Wembley having enjoyed a fantastic first season as manager at the Liberty Stadium, building on the foundations laid by Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa and Brendan Rodgers before him.

The south Wales club sit in the top half of the Premier League table, and have beaten Arsenal and Chelsea among others this season.

Their performances have seen Laudrup linked with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City, and he is set to discuss an extension to his Swansea contract.

Laudrup places his managerial abilities down to learning from the greats he played under, and there were none as influential as the man in charge when he helped Barcelona win their first European Cup at Wembley in 1992: Cruyff.

"On the pitch everyone knows my five years with Cruyff in Barcelona were great years, there are a lot of things from the training I did with him that I am using now," he said.

"There are also elements from Giovanni Trapattoni while I was in Italy and (former Denmark boss) Sepp Piontek.

"Those are the three I mention when people ask who had the most influence on my career - so we have a German, an Italian and a Dutchman who was from the school of 'Total Football' and was one of the top five players ever.

"They were three very different personalities, and three very different ways of seeing the game, but they had a big impact on me."

Defender Chico Flores has had to admit defeat in his battle to return to fitness in time for the match.

The Spaniard has failed to recover from the ruptured ankle ligaments he suffered against QPR, so Kyle Bartley or club captain Garry Monk will slot in alongside Ashley Williams.

Gerhard Tremmel will start in goal, while Michu, Wayne Routledge and Angel Rangel will also return after being rested for the thumping defeat at Liverpool last weekend.


PA

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