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Bradford Park Avenue aim to finally strike it Hotte
Bradford Park Avenue will be seeking their first victory of the season on Saturday at the fifth attempt.
They host Oxford City in the Skrill North and the visitors are one of just four clubs below Avenue after a disappointing start.
Bradford have banked just two points from four games but have skipper Nathan Hotte available again now the club captain has served a four-game suspension hanging over from last season.
He had a one-match ban for an accumulation of yellow cards before getting a straight red just before last term ended.
Hotte was one of five of last term’s regulars who have missed the start of this campaign.
In another positive for boss John Deacey, striker Louie Swain, who is on loan from neighbouring City, has recovered from injury and is poised to feature on Saturday.
But Luke Dean, who also had a spell at Valley Parade, has been released.
Oxford have also had a testing opening but everyone at Horsfall Stadium will be aware of their potential. A home defeat and away draw against them in consecutive games towards the end of last season ended Avenue’s play-off hopes.
Deacey feels his side is getting back to somewhere near their best and have a chance of that elusive first victory – as long as they stay out of trouble in the box.
Avenue have conceded penalties at the rate of one a game so far.
Deacey said: “Three of them have been penalties and one of them wasn’t. The decision against us for the second one against Barrow at home was wrong to my mind.
“That definitely wasn’t a penalty but it was given and it cost us because we were 2-1 up but ended up with a point. But the blame for the result is on our players for that second- half performance.
“We played well in the first, like we are capable of, but it was like a different team came out for the second half. You cannot play like that and expect to get results from games.”
Jamie Price (broken ribs) and Jordan Deacey (broken arm) are still sidelined, while Martin Drury is back running but is two weeks away from a recall.
Chib Chilaka has recovered from a hamstring injury and scored in Monday’s 2-2 draw at Stalybridge Celtic.
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