Depleted Avenue preparing for sterner test after losing unbeaten tag (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Depleted Avenue preparing for sterner test after losing unbeaten tag
Bradford Park Avenue will be licking their wounds after suffering a first Blue Square Bet North defeat since gaining promotion – but the fixtures do not get any easier.
Avenue were unbeaten in the opening five games but were put to the sword by promotion hopefuls Stalybridge Celtic in midweek, and on Saturday they host leaders Brackley Town, who come to Horsfall Stadium boasting a 100 per cent start.
It is the time boss John Deacey would like to look to his most experienced players but to do that he would have to visit the treatment table in the physio’s room as Avenue were without seven of their reliable first-team players on Monday night.
Deacey had Matt Dempsey and Amjad Iqbal at the centre of an irregular back four. Both are top players but Dempsey has not been a recent starter and Iqbal had just minutes of football under his belt after making his comeback from a second broken leg in the second half of last weekend’s win at Corby Town.
In total there were seven players missing, defenders James Riley, James Knowles and Adam Clayton being among them.
The situation was such that Deacey padded the bench out with the walking wounded.
One of the plus points in the game was the forward play, with close-season signing Paul Walker and last season’s second-top scorer Tom Greaves both looking sharp.
Greaves set up Walker for Avenue’s goal in the 3-1 defeat to Stalybridge which saw the Bradford side drop to ninth in the table.
Avenue are now just below former Horsfall manager Lee Sinnott’s Altrincham but Brackley are top of the pile after a 4-1 midweek victory took them above Guiseley on goals scored.
Avenue press officer Lewis Sale said: “We knew the unbeaten run was going to end some time, and even though we were disappointed that it was at home on Monday there were plenty of positives to take out of the game.
“Danny Holland hit the bar just after they (Stalybridge) went 2-1 in front, and if that had been an equaliser with 20 minutes remaining it could have gone either way.
“Walker was fantastic on the night and gave a very good side some problems.
“John (manager Deacey) didn’t make any substitutions because there weren’t fit players on the bench, although it shouldn’t be as bad for the Brackley game.”
With Avenue’s midweek night being Monday, there is precious little time for any players to recover from knocks, bumps and bruises after Saturday games. But they do get five days to work on treatment before the following Saturday.