Phil Parkinson could have been forgiven for sporting a smug, self-satisfied grin when he left Bramall Lane on Tuesday night, writes James Shield.
The Bradford City manager, whose team plays host to Sheffield United this weekend, had just watched Nigel Adkins’ side produce arguably its most disjointed display of the season en route to a shock home defeat by Colchester.
But, Adkins speaking ahead of Sunday’s encounter at Valley Parade, said: “We’ve reflected on what happened and will now be looking to move on. That’s what we’ll do and that’s the way it’s got to be.
“We’ve got work to do, clearly, but it’s all about ‘us’ and ‘we’ as I’ve made clear all along. We have the effort and the work ethic at this football club. You need that to give yourself an opportunity to get promoted.”
United appeared destined to stamp their authority on the race for promotion from League One when they recorded four straight victories following a surprise opening day reverse at Gillingham. But losses to Bury and, most recently, Colchester have stalled their progress.
“Give Colchester a bit of credit, we don’t underestimate anybody in this division,” Adkins said. “I learnt a lot about the environment, the players and also ourselves. We are learning all the time about different scenarios and situations. The expectations on all of us is that we want to get promoted.”
“We reflect and then look to the future,” Adkins added. “Draw a line and then move on. Not dwell.
“You always learn a lot about yourselves when things aren’t going your way. We won’t talk about luck, we won’t talk about referees and we won’t talk about injuries because everybody has those.
“We know what we want to do and we have to work extremely hard for it.”