Bradford (Park Avenue) have begun to look ahead to the new season by tying down a number of key players to extended contracts, including midfield general Isaac Marriott.

A product of the Huddersfield Town academy, Marriott endured loan spells with Larne and Brighouse Town before making his move to the Horsfall Stadium permanent in 2020.

The 22-year old has opted to extend his Avenue contract for an additional year after establishing himself as a fan favourite and a fundamental option in Mark Bower’s side.

Marriott has been present in each of Bradford’s pre-season tests so far, picking up minutes against Campion, Silsden and most recently Bradford City: “It’s been tough. It has been good to get up to speed as quick as possible, but I think the games have been good and it’s good to get minutes back into the legs.

“It was quite tough getting back to it and back to the football feeling, because feeling fit and feeling sharp is going to take its time but we got what we needed from the games, which weren’t result based, but it’s just getting back onto the pitch and learning to play with the players again. But it’s definitely been good so far, I have enjoyed it.”

Bower’s side hadn’t played any football since the curtailment of the league, with their last game taking place as a dramatic 3-3 draw with Chester in late January: “It’s been very tough actually, obviously I tried doing stuff in the off-season to try and keep myself fit but when coming back it’s been tough, there’s been a lot of running drills, a lot of eleven versus eleven work and a lot of fitness drills, but I’ve been feeling the reach of it already.”

Marriott has now been a regular under Bower since originally joining the club on loan in 2019, with the manager experimenting with the former Town youngster’s position last season: “We have a very positive relationship and I know I can go to him for anything. I know that whatever he says to me I listen to, and I take on board what he’s saying and I learn from him.

“We go to little sites in the season for me to train, where I can do different things on the pitch from what I did last year because I want to get better and better each year, and he wants to help me with that. So yeah, I have a good relationship with him and I enjoy playing under him even if it is a tough pre-season!

“From what I’ve done in pre-season, I have been playing a more advanced role. At the start it was to get a higher press on the other team, so I could start off the press and have a real intensity higher up the field.

“But now it’s more focusing on me getting my end product better and scoring more goals, assisting more because I think everyone knows that’s what I need to kick on and work on next, so I have been trying to do that in pre-season, I’ve assisted one of the goals already and hopefully I can do that more next year.”

Despite coming through the academy with the Terrier, Marriott never managed to make a senior appearance for Huddersfield, but did have the opportunity to test himself against Football League opposition last Tuesday in Park Avenue’s hefty defeat at the hands of Bradford City: “It was really enjoyable playing in that game, it started off quite tough because they’re a very good side who came out of the traps as we knew they would. But after we settled down and got to grips with the game a bit I felt we did really well and created some of our own chances.”

The best news about ‘freedom day’ for football fans across the world is of course the return of full stadium capacities too, something which Bradford (Park Avenue) hasn’t seen since the 14th of March 2020: “That’s the one thing we really missed last year. It’ll be good to be getting back to football with fans who make so much difference. It’s so much better, and I can’t wait for the next game for them to be back down there.”

Marriott is also yet to net his first league goal for Park Avenue, but is determined to amend that in the upcoming campaign: “I want to help the team as much as I can. I obviously want to help the team to get as high up in the league as possible, as the team winning is what I want to come first. On a personal note, I just want to get my goals and assists higher up than what they were last year. To just keep pushing and pushing and to get a good level of performance week in week out, whilst also being as consistent as I can.”

Bradford (Park Avenue) and Marriott will be back in action this coming Saturday, as Bower’s men make the journey to the Ewen Fields Stadium to face Northern Premier League side Hyde United in their next pre-season venture, for a 3PM kick-off.