Mark Hume endured a difficult time while Bradford boss John Deacey was away on holiday but he feels it was a valuable experience in his and the squad’s development.

Deacey broke his own golden rule by taking a break during the football season. But after several campaigns toiling away at the coal face and spending the so-called close season working on player deals and formulating training schedules, it was a much-needed and long overdue respite.

In his absence Hume oversaw three defeats. The only game Avenue did not lose in that period was postponed – the New Year’s Day fixture at home to Stockport County.

Hume said: “We had a hard couple of weeks, it was tough. We had our share of injuries and suspensions, which meant that the lads we did have available were low on energy levels.

“There was no way of protecting the players who were carrying knocks because we just didn’t have the numbers. But I think the lads will be better for coming through that.

“Even before John went away we were juggling the squad so we had to experiment and be brave. We introduced a new formation and that’s another string to the bow.

“We have two or three styles now and that can be the difference when it comes to winning games. We worked on things and the players have taken to it, but to be fair most of them have played in the League or at least for League clubs so they have had the grounding.”

Hume enjoyed his brief spell in temporary charge but is glad Deacey is back. He also feels that the club is still moving forward despite slipping back in the Conference North table in recent weeks.

“John’s a fantastic guy and I really enjoy working alongside him. I think with our contacts we have done well – we wouldn’t have got the squad we have otherwise.

“Obviously we would like more players of the same quality but we know we can’t have everything.

“We don’t have the biggest budget in the division but this is only our second season in the Conference North so we’re doing okay. We don’t want to push the boat out too far and the board have been great.

“I think they realise the job we’re doing. We have had good FA Cup runs for three years and we had a nice trot in the FA Trophy this season. Beating Kidderminster Harriers was a massive result for us.

“So I think we have progressed and we are still going forward. This is a tough division but we are matching sides in terms of football.”