Bradford Park Avenue boss John Deacey: We lose out to richer neighbours

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: ‘POOR RELATIONS’: Avenue have lost key players to neighbouring clubs, including James Knowles, who was snapped up by FC Halifax Town last season ‘POOR RELATIONS’: Avenue have lost key players to neighbouring clubs, including James Knowles, who was snapped up by FC Halifax Town last season

John Deacey has regularly cast an envious glance at the transfer dealings of neighbouring rivals but the disparity has never been as prevalent as this week.

The Bradford Park Avenue boss leads his side into a second derby with Guiseley in a matter of days with a threadbare squad.

While his opposite number Mark Bower has a selection headache over which of his abundance of first-team squad members will replace the suspended Rhys Meynell, Deacey is wondering if he will have enough players to fill the bench.

Park Avenue’s promotion into the Conference North saw them join the Lions, Harrogate Town and FC Halifax Town in the division.

At the time Deacey joked: “We are definitely the poor relations of the local clubs,” and since then the well-supported Shaymen have moved into the Conference Premier.

“When it comes to financial clout I think we are behind the rest but you don’t complain, you get on with it,” said the Avenue chief.

“I look at Guiseley and they can afford to bring in a couple of players if Mark needs to boost his squad.

“Halifax have even more to spend, especially after going up. They raided the Guiseley squad and took some of their best players.

“They also took James Knowles from us towards the end of last season and that really hurt us at the time.

“We lost Steve Mallory earlier this season to Harrogate and we desperately wanted him to stay but couldn’t match the offer he had from them. Steve liked it here but we couldn’t have expected him to turn down what was on the table at Harrogate.”

So, not only are the numbers thin on the ground but Avenue are also in danger of losing key men if clubs come in offering good personal terms. Deacey has also missed out on transfer targets, when their rivals have got involved.

Deacey said, “I have tried to sign a few players but it’s a tough market. We are a self sufficient club, we don’t have that rich guy who can splash the cash. In the summer I was in for players who were keen to sign but went to one or another of our neighbouring clubs once they started negotiating with them.

“It makes us more determined though and if we have all of our 16 or 17 players fully fit and available I would back us to get a result against anyone. Look at the Kidderminster games.”

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