Bradford Park Avenue boss John Deacey counts cost of thin squad

CAUGHT SHORT: John Deacey’s lack of options to cover for injuries and suspensions has thwarted any top-five hopes

CAUGHT SHORT: John Deacey’s lack of options to cover for injuries and suspensions has thwarted any top-five hopes

First published in Sport by

Bradford Park Avenue boss John Deacey believes his side could have landed a play-off place were it not for injuries and suspensions.

He is pleased with the way his threadbare squad has ended the season as they go into tomorrow's final game of the season.

Deacey takes his side to Oxford City knowing a win would ensure a top-ten finish in the Conference North.

He said: “That would make it a very good season for us.

“We’re not able to compete with the clubs with the big budgets in terms of squad numbers, so we have to concentrate on getting a smaller amount of top-quality players to the club.

“That only works if they all stay clear of injuries and don’t pick up loads of suspensions.

“That hasn’t happened with us this season but I believe we could have been in the play-off places if we had been able to put our best XI out more often.

“We tried to keep everyone fit but had horrendous selection problems all season. Yes, that can be seen as an excuse, I accept that.

“I have said all season that I’m not making excuses and I haven’t been. I have just been stating fact.

“The trouble is the fans don’t want to hear that before every game.

“It’s difficult to say it every week but when you have six or seven players missing, it’s true.

“And any club at any level will struggle with that.

“If you have a 30-man squad it becomes easier to deal with. You can bring in another player equally as good as the one you have out. With 16 or 17 players and seven unavailable, you are going to end up with a weak link and no options on the bench.”

Meanwhile, club historian Tim Clapham has released a new booklet called 'Floreat Park Avenue 25 years on 1988-2013' focusing on the last 25 years since the club reformed.

It begins in 1988 and, as with all his other works, Clapham’s words bring the seasons to life, evoking memories of the last two-and-half decades.

All of the modern Park Avenue’s managers are listed, the top 20 goalscorers, the 20 players with the most appearances and an A to Z list of any player to have made over 50 appearances over the last 25 years.

The booklet is only available from the club shop but will be on sale at a programme and badge fair on Sunday from 10am until 1pm in the social club at Horsfall Stadium.

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