A FORTNIGHT off from league action at the start of December was not exactly what Bradford Park Avenue had in mind, but the lay-off may have been timely and productive according to manager Mark Bower.

Avenue’s last league game was the 3-0 home defeat to promotion chasers Kidderminster Harriers on the first Saturday of the month.

Tomorrow, just a week before Christmas Eve, they are hosting Brackley Town, another of the Vanarama National North’s leading pack.

But Bower is content following the mini break, and said: “I think that it’s possibly worked in our favour with the two lads going off on loan and us having a couple of injuries in the County Cup.”

The loan spells of Oli Johnson and Adam Nowakowski, from Guiseley and Darlington respectively, ended after the Kidderminster game.

Avenue fielded a thin squad in the West Riding County Cup at Thackley just three days later and only edged the derby thanks to a late strike from assistant player-manager Danny Boshell.

Bower added: “The break in the league gave us a breather really because we were down on numbers.

"We couldn’t even fill the bench at Thackley because we didn’t have enough fit or available players, but it is was it is and we just had to get on with it.

“I think we’ve used the time well and I hope that we got the balance right between training, coaching and rest and recuperation.

"The players have a fresh mentality, and the extended period between games has helped with one or two of the injuries.

“We have got Jack Dyche in on loan for the rest of the season but we still haven’t sorted anything out with the players who went back.

"Oli was injured, so he’s gone back to Guiseley and everyone is waiting to see what happens regarding that.

“Adam was fully fit when his loan ended and we’re still working on the possibility of bringing him back, either on another short-term loan or for the rest of the season.

“He did really well for us in his spell here. Either way, we are working around the clock on potential targets and I certainly hope that there will be a few more coming in over the next few weeks, but it’s a constant battle because there are still not enough players available due to the Football League rules that I think are restricting movement of players.”