BRADFORD (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is keen to bounce back quickly from his side's disappointing 2-1 New Year's Day defeat to Guiseley and is excited by the prospect of a title scrap at Stockport County.

Avenue visit the Greater Manchester outfit tomorrow, in a clash which sees second face third in the Vanarama National League North.

Stockport have already made it clear that they view the match as vital to their season, and Bower shares their enthusiasm.

He said: "I've listened to their manager, Jim Gannon, and he mentioned this game as a "cup final" for his team.

"It's a big game for us both and it's good to have Stockport looking at us like that.

"They shouldn't really be in this league. They'll have 4,000+ fans there tomorrow, which shows they should be much higher up the pyramid.

"It will be a great occasion and an opportunity to bounce back from the Guiseley defeat. It will feel like a Football League fixture, and fortunately, we have plenty of Football League experience in our dressing room."

Bower admitted that the jam-packed Christmas schedule had taken its toll.

None of their games were called off, which Bower felt was a factor on Tuesday.

He said: "We played against Southport before Christmas in atrocious conditions and I think that took its toll on the pitch. It was difficult to play football on.

"Those conditions meant it suited Guiseley, whereas they suited us at Nethermoor on Boxing Day.

"Guiseley are a good side in a false league position and they have some players that we can't afford. They improved in the New Year game and it was much tighter.

"We were unfortunate with some key decisions though. Having looked at the foul on Nicky Clee in the first half again, I'm 100 per cent sure it should have been a penalty to us, not a free-kick."

Overall, Bower was content with his side's performances over the past fortnight and he said: "We ground out a good victory against Hereford and played very well at Guiseley.

"We were unlucky to draw with Boston United, as I thought we did enough to win and things just didn't go for us at home to Guiseley, so we're keen to bounce back."

Ben McKenna was Bradford's super sub over Christmas, with the creative midfielder's highlight being a last-gasp equaliser at Boston.

Bower enthused: "The substitutes played a massive part over Christmas, and Ben and Adam Nowakowski were vital in getting us a point at Boston. Our subs have been great throughout the season.

"Ben has been unlucky. He started the season brilliantly but got injured. Lewis Knight came in to replace him and has been magnificent.

"His chance will come again and I know he'll give everything when he's back in the starting eleven."