RETURNING Bradford (Park Avenue) boss Mark Bower is aware of the size of the task facing his side this season, saying that finishing 20th and surviving would be as good as coming seventh last year.

Avenue come into tomorrow's Vanarama National League North home game against Hereford on the back of a dreadful 8-0 defeat at Brackley Town a fortnight ago, with Bower admitting that restoring some pride this weekend is the priority.

He suggested that the pressure was all on the visitors, as there is no real expectation on his current squad.

He said: "Hereford are strong, with an experienced manager (Russell Slade), and they have a very healthy budget at this level.

"They come into the game as favourites, and their only target will be to win, whereas there's no pressure or expectation on us.

"It's a transitional period, but as long the players do the jobs we ask of them, we've got a chance."

Despite the situation, Bower will certainly not accept relegation for his young and inexperienced squad.

He mused: "We will have some dark days ahead but we've got to make sure we can get to 20th, which would be like seventh last season. We'll do what we can to stay here in this league.

"I've seen footage of all the games so far and the team have played well at times. They were unlucky not to win against Spennymoor, for example. We need to work on the positives and just eradicate the negatives.

"Young players learn by their mistakes. That's why I want to add experience in and around them, as they'll learn quicker like that than in any other way.

"I like having a settled squad of players but we do need to change things. I'm here to get the best out of the players we've already got, but I think no matter where you are in the league, you're always looking to improve your team."

Bower added: "We're short of left-sided players. We only had two left-footed players when I arrived but one's gone and the other I've not seen.

"I feel we need a bit of experience in central midfield but really anything just to make us better. We're working hard to get the right people but we have to be patient and wait until they become available."

For now, Bower's squad is largely the same as the one that was thumped at Brackley, but hopefully they can be inspired by a big crowd on Non-League Day.

He enthused: "People might turn up to see me coming back and hopefully the weather holds.

"Horsfall's not always the best place to play football but with the fence finished and bringing the supporters close to the pitch, it creates a better atmosphere.

"Hereford will bring a big following too, but hopefully there's something for our fans to cheer."