MARK Bower has urged his Bradford (Park Avenue) side to bounce back immediately after their first loss in eight games.

The Vanarama National League North promotion battle is shaping up and any club faltering at this stage could see themselves out in the mire.

Avenue suffered a 2-1 loss at home to fellow playoff rivals AFC Telford on Tuesday evening, their first since January, after three wins in their last four.

Bower said: "It's disappointing to lose a game. I think it was one of those where they just shaded it over the 90 minutes. We never really got going and never really put any sustained spell of possession or pressure to them.

"The first goal was always going to be a big thing in the game and one of their players produced an unbelievable finish from long range to break the deadlock and we found it difficult to come back after that.

"But even then the lads kept going. We got a goal back to get us back in the game and with a little bit of luck, the ball bobbling round their box on a few occasions, we might have nicked an equaliser."

The coach remains confident in his side's ability to score from all over the pitch and their spirit in never believing they're out of a game.

He added: "We'll get setbacks. That's what happens at this stage of the season, when you're playing a lot of games.

"You'll get a few bumps in the road as such and the better teams, the one's that are going to be successful, are the ones that bounce back quickly from that, so that's what we've got to do."

Despite the loss, Avenue still sit pretty in fifth and are on course for a playoff berth.

Bower believes the season could go down to the wire, but insists his side are focused on not letting their hard work go to waste.

He said: "It's not just getting into the playoffs. Securing a points tally that we feel will get us in the top seven, that's going to be the first target.

"If we can get there, then you're probably thinking we want to try and get top five because that gets you a home game.

"Then if things go really well and we can string a few results together again, who knows, you might even look at a top three spot.

"There's going to be targets all along the way.

The next goal, will be a victory against an in-form Alfreton side on Saturday.

Bower said: "It's probably the worst time we could possibly play them.

"We're expecting a really tough challenge and I'm sure teams in Alfreton's position in the league will take inspiration from us and what we did last year."