Play-offs target as Matty James declares himself fit to play a part

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Matty James has returned to training after a back operation Matty James has returned to training after a back operation

Bradford Park Avenue received a huge boost ahead of tomorrow’s final Evo-Stik League game and for the play-offs when Matty James returned to the squad.

James has missed long spells during this campaign and everyone thought his season was over when he had to go under the surgeon’s knife. Yet Avenue manager John Deacey has been amazed by the player’s recovery.

“Matty will be in the squad for this weekend’s game and that’s a big bonus for us,” said Deacey.

“He had the operation on his back and has rested for four weeks before returning to light training and he said he wants to play.

“He will start from the bench but if we can get him on for 20 minutes and into a practice game during the week, he may feature in the play-offs.”

Due to the situation with Northwich Victoria and their appeal being heard by the Football Association, the play-offs have been delayed.

The Cheshire club will finish second in the Premier Division tomorrow but are to be expelled from the league because of financial irregularities – pending the outcome of their appeal.

Avenue boss Deacey said: “We know we are in the play-offs and we know we are at home but tomorrow’s game at Chorley is still significant because it could mean home advantage in the play-off final, should we reach that.

“The play-off semi-finals have been put back to next Saturday, so I don’t think the delay will affect our momentum. In fact, it might help because we could have Rob O’Brien back from injury and Matty fit enough to play some part.

“It has been a bit of a farce really, this whole Northwich thing. If the league were aware of any problems I think they should have acted more quickly.

“I feel sorry for their players and management really because it wasn’t their fault and they have worked hard all season just to have it taken away from them right at the end.

“Not because they are not good enough – there are some very good players and coaches at Northwich – and it’s them that you feel for.”

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