Bradford boss John Deacey and his squad gave their all in the struggle to secure a place in the Blue Square Bet North Division One play-offs.

Although they came up just short, the manager is already talking positively about making a successful tilt next term. And, significantly, Deacey is already missing the game.

The Avenue manager said: “It may well be time to draw breath and think about things but I love the game and wish the season wasn’t over. I can’t wait for the next one.

“I think it was a good one but it was a bit stop-start for a few months. There was a lot of bad weather and because of that we couldn’t get any rhythm going – it was the same for the other clubs though so you just have to get on with it.

“I would like to think it was a season in which people who came to watch us liked what they saw. We have always tried to play football the right way, it’s the way I want my teams to play and this squad has produced some decent football.”

The manager did get some criticism from the terraces and on the message boards, as every boss does. The two main bones of contention were the early release of so many players and the perception that he favoured his own son, Jordan, in team selection.

The latter is dismissed out of hand as Jordan Deacey’s displays have attracted a string of scouts and coaches from Football League clubs and the midfielder will be high in the ranking for all the player of the season accolades.

However, players allowed to leave such as James Riley, Matt Dempsey, Tom Greaves, former skipper Rob O’Brien and club captain James Knowles have left huge holes in a squad that ended up being threadbare.

However, not all of the information regarding their exits are in the public domain.

The Bradford boss did admit that he wished he hadn’t allowed Riley to join Farsley so soon and said he also tried in vain to persuade Knowles to remain at Horsfall. The other deals may have had more to do with financial constraints.

Deacey added: “We didn’t have the biggest budget and we certainly weren’t the biggest club in the league. For our last four fixtures I had 12 fit players to choose from.

“That was a killer to be fair and I know we need a bigger squad but the budget is tied. The board have been fantastic but I will have to go to them and ask for more. I wouldn’t rule out signing players and letting them play in the lower leagues on dual registration because we can’t afford to have them all on the books all the time.”

* Avenue have announced the prices for next term’s season tickets and a deadline date for an early bird saving.

Prices prior to June 23 are adult £180, concessions/student £120 and under-16s £30. After the deadline they will be £190, £130 and £32.

The club is hoping the seventh-place finish in their first season back in the Conf-erence North will lead to bigger attendances next season in order to give manager John Deacey a bigger budget.