Bradford Park Avenue seeking hat-trick of wins over Harrogate Town

Avenue's Nathan Hotte takes the attack to Harrogate Town during their FA Trophy replay

Avenue's Nathan Hotte takes the attack to Harrogate Town during their FA Trophy replay

First published in Sport by

Bradford Park Avenue go into the third of four home games on the trot on Saturday with renewed confidence after breaking a five-match losing streak in midweek.

John Deacey’s men will be looking to settle a score as they host long-term rivals Harrogate Town.

Avenue drew 1-1 at the CNG Stadium in the reverse Skrill Conference North fixture but Town knocked the Bradford club out of the West Riding County Cup with a 1-0 victory at Horsfall back in November.

However, Avenue exacted some revenge when they dumped Harrogate out of the higher-profile FA Trophy.

When the clubs were thrown together in the third-qualifying round, they drew 1-1 at Harrogate, former Avenue striker Chris Hall netting the home side’s goal, but Avenue won the replay 4-0.

Centre back James Knowles hit a hat-trick in that game but was sent off, along with Town’s former Guiseley midfielder Adam Bolder, in the league meeting in January.

Knowles was handed a four-match ban after that as it was his second red card of the season.

Because of the problems subsequently caused by the weather, Knowles has only just completed his suspension.

He returned to action in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Workington and said: “It’s good to be back and I just hope I can help the side to another win over Harrogate now.

“It has been hard sitting on the sidelines, especially as the lads haven’t been doing too well. We hadn’t won a game, so it was difficult watching but we will try to make the most of the remaining games.”

Knowles was surprised but delighted to come straight back into the starting line-up on Wednesday and he hopes to keep his place now.

There was also another new face as recent signing Dean Bartle was introduced - but as an unused substitute.

The midweek victory over Workington lifted the gloom over Horsfall and muted the doom-mongers who had begun to chatter about possible relegation.

The three points banked lifted Avenue back up to 13th in the table.

They still trail promotion-chasing third-placed Harrogate but that will merely add to the desire of the Bradford players to gain something from this fifth meeting of the season.

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