Bradford Park Avenue have three tough games in eight days, and manager John Deacey is lamenting the two players who will miss all three.

Bradford are battling for points in a bid to make a late dash for the play-offs in Conference North. Deacey knows his side have a lot of ground to make up but no-one at the club has abandoned hope.

Deacey said: “Altrincham tomorrow, Stockport County on Monday and Gainsborough Trinity next Saturday will all be very tough games, and we’ll know more about where we are in the league once we’ve played them.

“Nathan Hotte is the only recent injury but he could play in one or two of the games, but Martin Drury and James Knowles will not be available for any of them.”

Drury has been sidelined since the start of the season with an ankle injury and Knowles is serving a four-match suspension after picking up a second red card this season.

Deacey feels both players make a big difference to Avenue when he can name them in the starting 11.

However, if Deacey can mastermind a decent points haul from the three imminent games, they could still be in a position where Drury and Knowles can have an influence.

The Bradford boss said: “Martin has been a massive loss to us. We have missed his quality and attacking threat. He does a great job at left back but it’s the way he and Paul (Walker) link up down the left side that really gives opposing teams problems - that and his excellent dead-ball delivery at set-pieces.

“He has been making good progress and we think he is about ten days away. If we got him back for the run-in, it would be a massive boost to us. It would be like getting a new signing - one who had already settled in.

“The same goes for James really. It frustrates me when players pick up cards but what’s done is done and we will not be as strong without James in the squad. I just hope we get the three games played this week and then the suspension is over quickly.

“It’s a pity when we have anyone sidelined but two players as big for us as Martin and James is almost a disaster because we are working with a minute squad as it is.”