Bradford Park Avenue prepare for pivotal period

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alex Davidson in action during Avenue’s impressive FA Trophy win against Kidderminster last weekend Alex Davidson in action during Avenue’s impressive FA Trophy win against Kidderminster last weekend

The tough games just keep coming for Bradford Park Avenue and the next few days could be pivotal if they are to maintain their Conference North play-off hopes.

John Deacey’s men had a spell of 13 matches without defeat earlier in the campaign and have quietly moved on to a new four-game unbeaten run as they prove they are a tough team to beat.

But only one of those last four fixtures was in the league and, in terms of form, they have taken just one point from the last nine on offer. That leaves them tenth in Skrill North as they head to eighth-placed Vauxhall Motors on Saturday.

Avenue will need to get something from that game as they host Guiseley just two days later. The Lions have clawed their way back up the table after a slow start and are behind their neighbours on goal difference only as they go into the weekend.

Deacey’s players will be looking for an away win which could see them put some daylight between themselves and Guiseley – who also have a testing game against a club above them as they entertain Boston United – before Monday’s clash.

The Bradford club would leapfrog Vauxhall with a three-point return. The home side may be above their visitors but they have lost twice as many league games this term and also have an inferior goal difference.

Avenue’s problem is that they have drawn too many times, with seven of their 16 starts having ended in stalemate.

Deacey and his number two Mark Hume are aware of the stats and are looking to address the situation but the squad is thin on the ground at the moment.

The numbers will dwindle again before Monday as defender James Knowles is available on Saturday but then begins a two-game ban. Skipper Nathan Hotte is also due to serve a one-match suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.

Both will be looking to make as much impact as possible at Vauxhall before they sit out Monday’s local derby.

Deacey was very disappointed to lose defender Steve Mallory before last weekend’s FA Trophy win over Kidderminster.

Mallory, who the manager praised in the build-up to the cup tie, was lured away by rivals Harrogate Town, despite Avenue’s attempts to hold on to the player.

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