Assistant manager Mark Hume knows it will be a tough holiday period for Park Avenue’s stretched squad.

Bradford go into today’s Conference North clash at Histon with their already slender resources even thinner on the ground.

Hume feels he is suffering from déjà vu after last Christmas but he and boss John Deacey knew what they were taking on.

“It is hard because we have players injured and suspended and it seems to be a case of one in, one out at the moment,” said Hume.

“We hope Scoobie (Richard Marshall) will be fine bec-ause he missed Tuesday’s game with a bout of sickness. But he was one of four players we had out. Another was Adam Clayton with a groin injury and he might be fit enough to play some part (against Histon) but we can’t risk him because James Knowles is suspended for Boxing Day and Adam is a natural replacement.

“Ideally we would have them both in the team but that just hasn’t been an option for us recently.”

With fixtures coming thick and fast over the next two weeks, including home and away league games against Stockport County and a trip to high-flying North Ferriby United, the Avenue management duo will have to be careful with their team selection.

Avenue have lost ground on their play-off rivals over the past few weeks and need to gather as many points as possible to remain contenders.

Hume said: “We were in a similar position this time last year. We had players out and dropped too many points over Christmas. That meant we were playing catch-up for the rest of the season and we just came up short.

“People might look at it and think ‘what are they doing, haven’t they learned from last time’ but we are working within constraints.

“It has been a nightmare with injuries and suspensions – we have a squad of 18 but have had as many as six out.

“Financially we can’t keep more than 18 and even if they came for free you can’t keep a squad of 24 players happy. The ones on the bench get frustrated so what would the ones left sitting in the stands do? They would be on their way.

“We have tried to bring players in but we have hit a brick wall with three that we have been talking to. They are all at clubs and they won’t budge until after Christmas.

“There is a chance we might have a player joining us on loan before the (Histon) game but we will see if it happens. We have come to an agreement with another club but there are still things to sort out. He is a forward and we need to strengthen that area.”