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Suspended quintet return to give Bradford Park Avenue massive boost
Bradford Park Avenue will not fear a visit from leaders Chester FC on Saturday, despite their recent poor return and their visitors’ very impressive record.
Avenue have lost their last five Blue Square North Division fixtures and have scored just one goal in that period.
Chester have a 15-point cushion at the summit and have won 21 of their 23 starts in the league this season, so are looking like champions elect.
However, Avenue were responsible for one of the two blemishes on Chester’s season so far.
John Deacey’s men came back from Chester with a point from a 1-1 draw in early October, making them the only club to take points from the Exacta Stadium this term.
Avenue’s scorer on that day was Danny Holland, who proved he has not lost his touch by netting the only reply in New Year’s Day’s 3-1 home defeat to neighbouring Guiseley.
That strike made Holland Avenue’s only scorer since a 4-1 win at Histon on the first day of December.
Deacey is delighted to have some numbers back after having five players suspended and two injured for the second of the Guiseley derbies, Avenue losing 1-0 at Nethermoor on Boxing Day.
All five players have served their bans, meaning skipper James Knowles, the versatile Nathan Hotte, midfielder Jordan Deacey and forwards Richard Marshall and Matty James will all be available.
Left back Martin Drury and first-choice keeper Tim Deasy are still ruled out through injury, however, which means John Lamb, who came out of retirement to help out his old club, will continue to deputise between the sticks.
Deacey said: “We have not had the best of luck in that run of five defeats but I’m sick of repeating myself about how well we have played without getting even a point.
“It is a relief that we have some players back for what is another big game against one of the big- hitters but then there are no easy games in this league. You just have to get the players prepared in the correct manner and go again.
“I thought Lamby could have done better against Guiseley with the two second-half free-kicks but he is doing what we have asked of him and he is a great character to have around the place.
"He is a good keeper - maybe a bit rusty after taking time out to give his back injury time to recover - but he is a great lad and would do anything for this club.
“We have a squad full of local lads that love playing football, and I think that shows and makes us a strong club.”