BRADFORD (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower hopes his team can continue their FA Cup run with a win at Altrincham tomorrow, as he expressed his love for the world's oldest national football competition.

He enthused: "It's not a distraction from our league form because it breeds confidence. There's teams at our level without a game this weekend, which isn't ideal this early in the season.

"Maybe further down the line with FA Trophy and County Cup games it could prove difficult, but the FA Cup is massive and we know how important it is.

"A good run will raise the profile of the club and boost our finances, while the players would love to get through to the first round and maybe face a league club.

"It's been our number one priority this week and the only thing we're thinking about."

Avenue lost to Altrincham 3-2 in the Vanarama National League North last month, but Bower insists that tomorrow's third qualifying round tie offers a new challenge.

He said: "Football works in funny ways. You could play the same team twice in two days and end up with a totally different game.

"Altrincham probably felt fortunate to beat us in the league but then they played well at Kidderminster last week and lost 3-2.

"They're confident on the ball and they don't mind passing it around in tight areas. They have a good pitch which suits their style of football too.

"They have a decent FA Cup tradition but if we play like we have in the last two games, we'll have a chance."

Bower's side won 1-0 at Alfreton Town in the league on Saturday, with Steven Drench making some fine saves, Shane Killock a rock at the back and defender turned midfielder Conor Branson netting the winner.

Asked about the importance of that spine to his team, Bower opined: "We've been a bit up and down defensively but we've tightened up and kept teams out in the last couple of games.

"It's not just the defenders. It all starts with Jake Beesley up front working his socks off. Conor actually got our winner playing in midfield but he has that sense for defending as he naturally plays as a centre half.

"It's all about being consistent in keeping those clean sheets now though."

The game itself at Alfreton was a close one, with Branson's strike not coming until the 72nd minute, and Bower was relieved to escape with victory.

He said: "It was a tight game and with the long grass at Alfreton, it's difficult to play good football.

"It looked like a mistake or a set-piece would decide the game and it was a well-timed run by Conor to meet Nicky Wroe's corner.

"I thought we had the better chances overall and I felt we deserved to win."