BRADFORD Park Avenue boss Mark Bower has landed his first-choice replacement for departed goalkeeper Jon Worsnop by signing Steve Drench.

The pair first worked together at Guiseley and Drench was between the sticks when the Lions won promotion to the National League in a play-off final victory at Chorley, hitting back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

The 31-year-old keeper began his career with home-town club Blackburn and although he left to join Morecambe, he later worked for the Ewood Park club as a goalkeeping coach.

He had to give up that role when the Lions reached the top tier of non-League football because of the time spent travelling in England's national fifth division.

Drench earned the player of the season award the year that Morecambe won promotion to League Two.

He moved on to the Shrimps' neighbours Southport soon after and had a spell at Cambridge United but joins Avenue from National League neighbours Halifax.

Bower said: "Drenchy is an experienced non-League goalkeeper who has performed consistently at the top of our league for the past seven seasons.

"Goalkeeper is a priority position and we saw what a difference Spider (Worsnop) made to the team last season when he came in.

"With that in mind, securing a keeper to replace him was never going to be easy, but we feel that we have now done that with this signing.

"Having worked at Blackburn in the past, Drenchy will also take up a coaching role within our academy to help the young goalkeepers at the club."

It will be the second time Drench has followed Worsnop as Bower's No 1 after the former Bradford City keeper left the Lions in 2010, with Drench beginning his six-year stint at Nethermoor.

Drench made almost 250 appearances for Guiseley before joining the Shaymen and links up with other new signings – and former team-mates – Nicky Clee and Adam Boyes.

Striker Chris Sharp has left Horsfall, however. The son of former Everton goal-scorer Graeme has signed for National North rivals Alfreton Town.

There has been a change of venue for one of Avenue's pre-season friendlies, while another has been added to the schedule.

Bower's men were heading to Altrincham on Saturday, July 29 but will now host the Robins. Meanwhile, they will make the short trip to Throstle Nest to face Farsley Celtic the previous Saturday.