A POOR bank holiday weekend has done nothing to help lift the mood within the ranks at Bradford Park Avenue.

Alex Meechan's troops will be shell-shocked after conceding nine goals in heavy back-to-back defeats and they go into another tough away game still looking for their first National League North win of the season.

Avenue have just three points from their first seven games as they head to St James Park to take on Brackley Town, while the Saints – who were expected to struggle this season – have already banked a dozen.

Meechan pulled no punches after his side's 4-1 defeat at home to leaders AFC Fylde on Monday, saying: "We would be just making excuses if we talked about the quality of the opposition on that day. The simple thing is that we are just conceding far too many goals.

"It's been a difficult start – but we are only nine weeks in with a whole new set of players, so the side is still settling in.

"Either bad decision-making or individual errors are seeing us gift goals to the opposition, no matter who we're playing.

"There were set-piece goals where we just allowed players to attack the ball in our area and that can't continue.

"We have missed the big lad – Shane (Killock) is a leader and he makes such a difference to us but we just can't get him fit."

Meechan has also had injury problems with goalkeepers and moved to sign Joe Cracknell on loan from neighbours Bradford City until January.

Meechan has also drafted in centre back Joe Kearns and midfielder Michael Monaghan, the latter player scoring on his debut in the 5-1 loss at Tamworth last Saturday but being on the bench against Fylde.

Brackley had won their two previous fixtures before being held to a 1-1 draw at Gainsborough Trinity on Monday, which stalled their resurgence. The Saints could still climb back into the play-off places with a win this weekend.

Meechan said: "Brackley have had a good start to the season and Kev (manager Kevin Wilkin) has made some good signings to improve his squad.

"Our players are low on confidence but you get the feeling that a first win would really make a huge difference and they are capable of going on a run once they get that victory under their belts."