Bradford Park Avenue boss John Deacey has been delighted by the start Ryan Qualter has made to his Horsfall career.

He was signed from Evo-Stik Division One North outfit Ossett Town, where he was club captain and a fans’ favourite.

Deacey knows exactly why he was so well thought of after working with him for the last few months.

With Adam Clayton carrying a long-term injury and James Knowles serving a four-game suspension, Qualter has been thrust into the heart of Avenue’s defence and has quickly become a cornerstone.

Deacey said: “Ryan has grabbed his chance with both hands because of injuries and suspension and he has been fantastic.

“Last Monday was a poor game (a 0-0 draw at home to Vauxhall Motors) but Ryan was a massive plus. He defended really well and showed his leadership qualities.

“I’ve been delighted with him since we signed him and he has taken to Conference football like a duck to water. I think he has a great future because he will only get better.

“He’s a young lad and his positional sense is getting better all the time and his confidence is growing with every game he plays.”

Knowles will be back after tomorrow's Conference North home game against Colwyn Bay but Clayton will be in and out of the side until he has the surgery that will cure his long-term problem.

Deacey said: “Adam has been down for a hernia operation for three months but he’s still waiting.

“The National Health Service has not done us any favours with that.

“But that’s what it’s like for clubs at our level, we are at the mercy of the regular NHS and, as outstanding as the doctors and nurses are, they are not there to prioritise semi-pro footballers.

“It’s difficult for the players when they have not been professionals.

“If they were and had been members of the PFA they would get private care paid for and be back in no time.

“With Adam, and most of our players, it’s different.

“They have to fit things in around the day job but they want to play on, so all we can do is give them rest and only pick them when they feel able to play.”