BRADFORD (Park Avenue) assistant manager Shaun Gardner says playing Football League opposition is the best way to prepare for the season ahead of tonight's friendly against Bradford City.

The former Penrith midfielder also indicated he and former Bantam "History Maker" Garry Thompson will always be ready to take to the pitch if they're needed.

Avenue host City at Horsfall for a 7:30pm kick-off this evening and it will be the third time in quick succession that the side have come up against professional opposition.

Gardner said: "I think more than anything, we’re getting to the stage now where the squad’s getting more settled.

"We’re pretty much nearly there with regards to the lads we’re signing.

"It highlights more the areas where we can improve as a team, not just to get players in.

"As in, we’ve got our squad together now, these are the things we need to work on, because they’re going to be exploited by the likes of, Rotherham last week."

That game ended in a 5-1 loss, but Gardner was impressed with the way the team responded in the second-half, shutting the opposition out and bagging a goal himself.

Avenue followed that up with a 3-1 victory at Horsfall against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.

Gardner was influential in the build-up to two of the goals in that game.

The player-assistant has racked up two of his own during pre-season so far, while Thompson has one himself.

Gardner said it's always good to score, but admits the collective is the priority moving into the season.

He added: "I could play 20 games of the season, I could play none.

"The first and foremost is we just do what’s right for the team.

"Myself and Garry have joined in every training session, we’ve been involved in the matches.

"We’ve just done minutes here and there, prioritising the other lads.

"If we’re ever needed, we will be ready and we both back ourselves to score in any game."

Ticket prices for the Bradford City friendly are as follows: £10 for adults, £8 for concessions and students, and £1 for under 17s.