TWO months into their working relationship, Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower has lauded the brains behind the club’s day to day operations, Bradford Bulls’ commercial director Damian Irvine.

Bradford have been excellent on the pitch this season, with the club currently three points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League North, but Bower admitted there was work to be done behind the scenes.

He feels that Irvine, who has a dual role with Avenue and Bulls, has been crucial in turning things around, saying: “Damian’s been really good.

“He’s got great experience with Bradford Bulls and that means he’s very thorough in what he does.

“Things were not quite right behind the scenes here and Damian has addressed that, putting us on a sound footing for the future.

“We’re doing well on and off the pitch, and the latter is important because we’ve got to be thinking about our long term future at this club now.”

Avenue have taken another step towards a brighter future with the introduction of a rectangular pitch side fence, which will be in place by next month.

The “Fence the Fortress” campaign is also calling on businesses to pledge their support in a citywide effort to “Circle the Wagons” around the Horsfall pitch.

This entails getting the public involved, with businesses able to buy packages for up to £1,000 in return for pitch side advertising, match tickets, a listing on the club’s business sponsor directory and a party/event room for up to 30 people.

Bower is thrilled to welcome the initiative, saying: “The pitch side advertising just gives fans and businesses the opportunity to sponsor us and get involved.

“It’s been a great season so far. More and more eyes are on this league now, thanks to the available highlights packages, our crowds are increasing, the fans are closer to the pitch and if we can get more businesses to support us, that's even better."

Avenue are not in action tomorrow, and could drop to second if Chorley win their game against Darlington.

Horsfall will not be empty this weekend though, as fans are expected to turn out in force this morning for the funeral of lifelong supporter, Leslie Carr, which is being held at the ground.

Gates will open from 9:30am, with the service taking place at 11am, with all welcome to attend.

Bower feels this event epitomises the Bradford spirit, saying: "Look at where the club has come from. We went bust 40 or 50 years ago and it was fans like Leslie who brought it back and got it going again.

"The unsung heroes and volunteers make vital contributions to this club, so to lose one of them is very sad, but we can celebrate his life today."