Resurgent Bradford Park Avenue face ultimate test

TOP MARK: Avenue have been boosted by the signing of former Huddersfield Town midfielder Mark Hudson, right

TOP MARK: Avenue have been boosted by the signing of former Huddersfield Town midfielder Mark Hudson, right

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Bradford Park Avenue’s promotion credentials will be tested to the max on Saturday when they head to runaway Evo-Stik League Premier Division leaders Chester.

Their hosts are the bookmakers’ favourites to land the title and with it the one automatic promotion place into the Blue Square Bet North.

But Avenue have been on an impressive run themselves, having taken 19 of the last 24 points on offer with six victories, one draw and just one loss from their last eight league fixtures.

Their hot streak, which came despite a momentum-stopping glut of postponements and an injury crisis, lifted Avenue back into third spot.

They lost one place in midweek when Hednesford Town leapfrogged them and head to Chester ten points behind their hosts.

Bradford unveiled a new signing in Monday night’s 3-1 home win over Buxton after snapping up 31-year-old Mark Hudson. The midfielder brings experience, with Huddersfield Town being one of the three Football League clubs he has represented.

Avenue spokesman Lewis Sale said: “Mark started against Buxton and had a very good debut. He was solid because he is an old head and it showed.

“Someone of his background but who is also young enough to offer a lot as a player is just what John (Bradford boss Deacey) was looking for. I’m sure our young squad will benefit from Mark’s involvement.

“He certainly helped bring the best out of them on Monday. Mind you, Jordan Deacey was again immense and James Riley was fantastic.”

Ross Daly returned to the bench following a two-game ban but is struggling with a knee injury, while Deacey is also doubtful for Saturday after picking up a dead-leg in the Buxton game.

Farsley are back in the play-off frame in Division One North as they have also been on a superb run which has taken them up to fourth place.

Unlike neighbouring Avenue, Neil Parsley’s men will be expected to win this weekend to consolidate their position.

The visitors to Throstle Nest are Cammell Laird, who are rock-bottom with a minus 55 goal difference. Laird have won just seven times in 33 games, triumphing only once on the road.

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