James Knowles is suffering on the sidelines as his four-match ban turns into an eight-week nightmare.

The ball-playing centre back picked up a straight red card when Bradford visited Harrogate Town in the Conference North back in January and, now on the first day of March, he has served just one game.

“It’s getting to me. It feels like the longest suspension in history,” said Knowles.

Unfortunately all of his team-mates have been missing out on match action as well because of the wettest winter on record.

Knowles said: “It has been hard for everyone because of the weather but at least all the lads know that as soon as we get a match on then they will all be involved. It’s funny because we were all saying just after Christmas how good the weather had been.

“We had missed just one game, New Year’s Day at home to Stockport, up until then and given the snow and ice the previous two winters we thought we had got away lightly.

“But then the rains came and ever since we have been struggling. We’ve got four home games and one at Altrincham to rearrange. I’m just trying to keep myself fit for the run-in because it will be busy.”

With the trip to league leaders AFC Telford United tomorrow, the rearranged visit of Vauxhall Motors on Monday and Colwyn Bay due to make the journey to Horsfall Stadium next Saturday, Knowles is looking at a comeback midway through March.

His next scheduled fixture was a fortnight today, ironically against Harrogate Town. However, Knowles has been spared from making his return against the team that he was sent off against to spark the ban.

Avenue have rearranged the fixture against Workington and that will take place on Wednesday, March 12 and as long as there have been no postponements in the meantime, Knowles will return then.

He added: “I know it’s my own fault because I was the one who got sent off on two occasions but it’s just given me more time to reflect on it all.”

Knowles was given a three-game ban for the straight red card and another game because it was his second sending off this season.

“The two yellow cards against Kidderminster were a bit harsh as I didn’t think either of them warranted a card to be honest. The first one came after I was pushed over by one of their players and the second was for a tackle when I won the ball. You could tell I had by the reaction of their players.

“The second red, against Harrogate, was my fault because I reacted to a bad challenge on me. Their lad went over the ball and I’ve still got the scar on my leg. We squared up but he was the first to put his head in.

“I could have gone down at that point but I’m not that type of player so I stood my ground. The referee sent us both off for butting. There was no headbutt, from him or me.”