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Bradford Park Avenue on a revenge mission
Bradford Park Avenue will be keen to settle a score on Saturday when they host Gainsborough Trinity in the Conference North.
John Deacey's men were beaten 4-2 in the reverse fixture at the start of November, and it was a result that hit the Bradford club hard.
The defeat at Gainsborough ended an 11-game unbeaten run in the league for them.
Unfortunately, Avenue never really recovered from it. Both Paul Walker and Alex Davidson were on target for them at Gainsborough but they lost their next game, at home to Lee Sinnott’s Altrincham, by the same scoreline.
Avenue gathered just four points from the next 18 on offer and they have been hovering around mid-table ever since.
Bradford’s play-off hopes are now very remote as they are 15 points off the pace with just 14 games remaining.
They are still above their visitors in the table, however, boasting a four place advantage. Avenue are 13th going into the weekend but Trinity only trail by four points and have a game in hand.
Deacey will be glad to have skipper and midfield dynamo Nathan Hotte back from a one-match suspension.
The club captain makes Avenue tick and their chances of winning increase when he is available.
But centre back James Knowles is still sidelined. The bad weather that forced last Saturday’s trip to Altrincham to be called off means the experienced defender has served just one game of his four-match suspension.
Deacey had stated that he was close to completing a deal to bring a forward in before last weekend and he managed to secure Jacob Hazel on loan until March 8 from Sky Bet League Two outfit Chesterfield.
The young striker was denied his Avenue debut at Altrincham but started against Stockport County on Monday night.
Hazel managed a header on target, which was saved by County’s keeper Christian Dibble, in the first half but was replaced at half-time by former Bantams striker Chib Chilaka.
Hazel had done well but he has not played a lot of football recently, and the heavy pitch was not making his first game for Bradford an easy introduction.
The match against Stockport, held over after the postponement on New Year's Day, was poised at 0-0 at the break but the visitors netted two late goals to inflict Avenue’s 11th defeat in the league this term.
Had the match gone ahead on the initial date, Avenue would have had a bumper crowd and possibly three more points.
Stockport were well below Avenue in the table at the time but are now four points better off with a game in hand and are in the top half.