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James Knowles: Bradford Park Avenue not ruling out play-off tilt
Bradford Park Avenue will have to shrug off their ring rust if they are to get anything from Saturday's trip to leaders AFC Telford United in the Skrill Conference North.
Avenue have not played since their 1-0 home defeat to Stockport County almost three weeks ago.
They will be without talismanic centre back James Knowles, who has managed to serve just one game of his four-match suspension, and could also be without influential skipper Nathan Hotte, none of which is ideal when taking on the in-form team.
Telford are two points clear of North Ferriby United, although the Humberside outfit have played one game fewer.
The hosts are on the back of three victories and have drawn just twice in a six-match unbeaten run, only dropping points to promotion rivals Ferriby and Altrincham.
However, Knowles says that, despite the odds being against Bradford, the resolve is strong within the camp.
Knowles may be missing out this time but he was on the scoresheet when Avenue beat Telford 3-1 in the reverse fixture.
He said: “We didn’t think they were that great when we played them but full credit to them because they have fought hard and they’re up there now.
"That is the thing about this league - no-one is running away with it, so if you put a run of four or five games together you can move up the table.
“That’s what we’re hoping but were struggling at the moment. I’m not the only one suspended and we have a lot of injuries.
"We’ve missed Martin Drury all season, Alex Davidson has picked up an injury that could end his season and Nathan has been struggling with his knee.
“That has been the same throughout this season - we haven’t been able to get our best players all in the side at the same time. If we can put our strongest 11 out, we can beat anyone in our league.
“I’ve seen the forum and some people having a go and talking about relegation - that won’t happen. We're too good a side to go down. We’re looking up the table, not down it, and I think we can still challenge.
“Like I say, if we can put a run of four or five wins together, the last month of the season should be interesting. We might just be in a position to nick the last play-off place.”
Avenue played just one game in February and, in the period of inactivity since then, Ashley Timms has come and gone without featuring.
The much-travelled keeper was signed by John Deacey to push John Lamb for the No 1 spot but a change of day job made it impossible for him to stay.