Bradford Park Avenue played 51 games throughout the season with only one player being ever present and that was stoic goalkeeper John Lamb.
He was pushed close, however, by the previous season’s only ever present Paul Walker who finished as the club’s top scorer. Walker missed just one game, the last of the season away Oxford City. He wasn’t injured or suspended, he was just unavailable.
It brought an abrupt and untimely end to his record run of consecutive appearances for the club. Walker was just two short of three figures as his run came to an end at 98 but as Bradford boss John Deacey’s ‘Mr Consistency’ there is nothing to say that he won’t begin another run on the first game of next season that will take him over the ton in the coming few seasons.
Walker’s dozen goals made him the leading marksman but that merely highlights the need for a prolific striker at Horsfall Stadium. Avenue may have achieved more if they had been more clinical and that fact has not escaped Decaey.
Most of the usual suspects are in the line-ups in terms of games played, the core of the Bradford squad, and goals scored with Chib Chilaka, Alex Davidson, Richard Marshall and Nicky Boshell all hot on Walker’s heels.
But, as ever, the story is between the lines of the stats. Stalwart left back Martin Drury making less than half of the total number of possible appearances, his season blighted by a long term injury.
Jordan Deacey, skipper Nathan Hotte, Adam Clayton and Jamie Price also missed lots of games through injury. Others through suspensions which the boss feels could have been avoided, or minimised at the very least.
Some names appear far too infrequently, such as Steve Mallory who was lured away by the promise of bigger wages at Harrogate Town, Leeds United’s Simon Lenighan and Bradford City’s Louie Swaine, Adam Quinn and Ross Gardiner.
Bradford boss John Deacey wanted Lenighan on loan longer but Leeds wanted him back, Swain was not recalled by City but former Bantams defender Mark Bower tempted him away to Nethermoor while Quinn got frustrated waiting his chance to claim a shirt and Gardiner had to be released for financial reasons.
* See tomorrow's T&A for appearance and goal stats