Phil Parkinson gives his verdict on his former club Colchester United

Phil Parkinson

Phil Parkinson

Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson, has revealed that he is yet to see a better team than his old club, Colchester United, in League One, this season.

And plain-speaking Parkinson, the man who masterminded the U’s terrific promotion to the Championship in 2005-06, is certainly not surprised by how well his former club are doing, after a run of four wins on the bounce.

Parkinson’s current club were the latest to fall victim to Tony Humes’ super-confident Colchester side at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday night.

First-half goals from Callum Harriott and Marvin Sordell secured a comfortable 2-0 home win, following on from away successes at Sheffield United (3-2) and Swindon Town (2-1), which had sandwiched a 2-1 home win over early league leaders Gillingham.

“Colchester are as good a team as I have seen,” admitted Parkinson, who had to endure his side’s third defeat on the trot on Tuesday night.

“Colchester are playing well. I saw them play at Sheffield United, and in fact I’ve seen every game that they’ve played on DVD.

“They are a team playing full of confidence, and obviously the loan signings have given them a huge lift. They are very, very good players.

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“It’s just the opposite to us, because we’ve lost the likes of Billy Clarke, Josh Morris and Paul Anderson to injury in recent weeks, and it looked like that tonight (Tuesday evening).

“By contrast, Colchester’s new players were full of confidence, and it gave them a huge lift during the game.

“I remember when I was driving to the Sheffield game, to watch Sheffield United against Colchester, I said to (assistant manager) Steve Parkin that I fancied Colchester to win this, because I knew the players they had were good.

“I fancied them, and it didn’t surprise me. They won that night (at Sheffield), and it could have been 5-2 at half-time, easily.

“They are playing well, at the moment, and I wish them all the best for the rest of the season.”

Chorley-born Parkinson began his managerial career with Colchester, after moving from his long-term club Reading, where he was player-coach, in 2003.

He replaced Steve Whitton, transforming the U’s from perennial strugglers against relegation, to potential promotion candidates from the third tier.

Parkinson duly guided the U’s into the Championship, for the first and only time in the Essex club’s history, in 2005-06 after finishing second in League One. He also led them to a famous FA Cup run, which culminated in a trip to Chelsea.

After securing promotion for the U’s, Parkinson immediately departed for Hull City, where he endured a difficult few months, including suffering a humiliating 5-1 defeat at his old club.

But the 47-year-old found his feet again as manager of Charlton, and has now been at the helm at Bradford for more than four years.

Now Parkinson faces another tough challenge at Valley Parade, while his opposite number, Tony Humes, has seen his U’s side soar into the top 10, and within one point of the play-offs.

“We’ve lost a lot of players, and any team in this division losing that many players would also be finding it tough,” rued Parkinson.

“We just look like a team that is lacking a bit of spark to go and create and score a goal, but we never gave in.

“We restricted Colchester to two shots and two goals, but they were then able to sit back and keep their shape.

“They made it difficult for us, and what they are is a good counter-attacking team.”

The U’s entertain in-form Bury tomorrow.

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