Delighted manager Phil Parkinson praised match-winner Nahki Wells as Bradford stepped up their League Two play-off challenge with a hard fought win 1-0 over third-placed Northampton.

The goal which settled this tough encounter was the Bermudan international's 19th of the season and his sixth in five matches between the teams, but Parkinson warned Bradford's leading scorer he would have to continue to play well to keep his place in the side.

It was Wells' first goal since Bradford's 2-2 draw at Fleetwood at the beginning of February and his manager said: "Nahki is looking sharp again. He has got his rewards for training well and a couple of good performances, but he has got to make sure he continues to produce his form because we have got players on bench chomping at the bit."

The result lifted Bradford to eighth place, two points off the play-offs with a match in hand after losing only one of 10 matches since they were beaten 5-0 by Swansea in the Capital One League Cup final.

Parkinson added: "Northampton are a very good side and we knew what they were going to do. We knew we had to be very strong and physical against them, but we also knew we had the quality to create opportunities. It was a high-energy game and we were brave with their set pieces while trying to hit them on the counter attack.

"We should have scored a second goal and had some great chances to kill off the game, but we got the important goal and that was crucial for us. When you play against Northampton the two centre halves and the keeper are very important. We gave Andrew Davies the job of attacking the first ball and he was immense.

"There is a belief growing in the team, players are coming back into form and you can feel this in the dressing room. I don't think there are too many teams (who) can live with us physically in this division."

Bradford-born Northampton manager Aidy Boothroyd reflected on mistakes made by goalkeeper Lee Nicholls and defender Nathan Cameron that led to the winning goal, but said: "We are talking about two very good young players who will go on to bigger and better things than League Two football. They have been magnificent for us.

"These things happen, but we will bounce back. We don't always win, but we always have a go. We have got beaten but we take it on the chin and move on and focus on a home game against York next Saturday.

"The two keepers kept their teams in it. There were two very physical teams out there and we knew this was going to be a difficult game. We know a lot about them and they know a lot about us."