WITH the club in the National League North play-off places after half a season and continuing to defy the odds, Bradford Park Avenue are asking fans to back them to the hilt.

Supporters already part with hard-earned cash through the turnstiles, plus sundry expenses with refreshments and programme sales, and the club appreciate that.

Now they are asking those who can to contribute to a war chest for a promotion push – should it be needed.

Avenue manager Mark Bower said: "We have a very small squad but they're all good players and all in very good form and that's why we're doing well.

"We're in a good place in the league and we're trying to make hay while the sun shines and bank as many points as we can while everyone's fit and on top of their game.

"It's a case of fingers crossed every week though, because one or two injuries could really make a big difference.

"We have only signed two players all season – Mark Ross and Graham Kelly – and one of them (Kelly, on loan from Port Vale) has gone back.

"There are clubs in the relegation places in our league, like Boston United, who are signing players and paying transfer fees. That option isn't available for us but it is for at least three quarters of the clubs."

An announcement on the Avenue website this week said: "The directors are today launching a new initiative to assist the manager in strengthening his squad for the rest of the season.

"With our principal financial benefactor, Gareth Roberts, covering the running costs of the club, the directors are appealing to fans to raise money to strengthen our play-off chances.

"The proposal is that fans donate as much as they can on a weekly or monthly basis or as a one-off payment towards the players fund. All donations will be ring-fenced for Mark to build his squad for the rest of the season.

"Any fans who are prepared to donate, please e-mail Dave Stordy (davestordy@hotmail.co.uk) or telephone (01274-512989) with your offer and Dave will contact you to make the arrangements (direct debit forms are available). A massive thank you to the fans who have already donated £1000.

"Don't worry if you cannot afford a regular donation, we will have a bucket in the club shop at home games. To kick-start the initiative, several directors have already signed up to donate."

Bower added: "Everyone recognises that we have given ourselves a very good start and that we are in the play-off places with half of the season gone. The club's board is asking the fans to boost the budget.

"Where we are at the moment, we would have taken that if anyone had offered us that at the halfway mark. But we wouldn't be doing our duty to the club and the supporters if we didn't want more.

"If the chance comes to strengthen the squad at a critical time in the run-in and we're not in a position to do that, then we'd be kicking ourselves."