Busy summer for Bury boys

Date published: Tuesday 7th May 2013 2:44

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Former Bury star Phil Parkinson, now manager of Second Division Bradford City, will be returning to Wembley with the Bantams on May 18th following a shock 5-4 aggregate win over rivals Burton Albion in a second leg play-off thriller.

Parkinson, who saw his team trail 3-1 at the interval of their first leg home tie, somehow rallied his side to an eventual narrow 3-2 loss in the first match. However, an exciting 3-1 away result in the second tie completely overhauled the deficit to claim a remarkable 5-4 victory over the in-form Brewers.

The result now gives Parkinson a chance to dream of promotion and to enjoy a second Wembley visit within four months following their dramatic and equally surprising Carling Cup Final appearance, and heavy loss to Premier League Swansea City.

Parkinson was a former Southampton trainee who made his league debut for Bury in 1988 before being transferred to Reading in July 1992 for £50,000. He played for a number of clubs before holding spells in management with Colchester United and Hull City prior to joining the Bantams in August 2011.

His Bradford City squad will now play Northampton Town in the showpiece final marking the 64th match of the season for the revitalised Bantams, who enjoyed a great late season finish to claim seventh spot in the division.

Northampton defeated Cheltenham Town 2-0 on aggregate to earn their own Wembley date and denied another Bury player, Shaun Harrad, from extending his season-long spell even further with Cheltenham.

Harrad a popular striker, who has also played with Notts County, Burton Albion and Northampton Town, was the club’s top scorer this season with eight league and two cup goals, and is expected to re-join the Shakers for pre-season training in June.

Another Bury player returning to Gigg Lane is Academy star Rhys Williams who played in the May Bank Holiday U15s Tri-Nation Tournament at Jenner Park, Barry, for Wales after receiving his call-up last week.

Williams was a substitute for the first match against Switzerland, which ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat but later played against a strong Belgium side and celebrated in a shock 2-0 win. All the games were also attended by Wales’ national head coach Chris Coleman.

Welsh U15 coach and technical director Osian Roberts, who had Rhys Williams watched in Bury’s academy matches, was impressed by the schoolboy’s ability. Following the win over Belgium and said: “I’m delighted with how the boys’ responded, especially after the loss to Switzerland, when I thought we deserved a draw.”

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