BRADFORD (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is hoping the fans can provide that extra boost when his side take on a "really good quality" Southport side at Horsfall tomorrow in the Vanarama National League North

Their mood going into that clash will have been improved by the news that striker Dan Sweeney has extended his loan deal from Solihull Moors, with Bower keen to praise his leading man.

Avenue dropped back into the relegation zone after last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Gloucester City, but their performance in that game, and the 3-2 win over Hereford in the previous fixture, has given those around the club cause to be optimistic.

Speaking about this weekend's Southport clash, Bower said: "They're well-organised and get forward quickly. They're a really good, quality side.

"They're well drilled and (all the players) know their roles and responsibilities within the team. They've seen very few changes and have pretty much had a consistent team for the last 18 months.

"They'll be up there near the top at the end of the season."

While his own team are unlikely to be challenging for promotion, Bower said: "You can see we're heading in the right direction.

"We need to make ourselves well-organised and difficult to beat while having a threat up top.

"I was speaking to some of our fans after the Gloucester defeat and they felt we were becoming competitive and consistent, after stepping up in our last home game against Hereford too.

"Our fans are a good bunch, they'll always back the team, and we need that extra percent from them again against Southport."

Speaking of having a threat up top, Bower is delighted to have Sweeney still available, and was quick to praise the pacey number nine.

He said: "The two games I've been here we've had Dan as the main focal point at centre forward, and he won us a penalty and scored it (for the winner against Hereford).

"He gets in behind but he's also strong and able to hold up the ball. He's a good all-round player with potential and we can make him even better.

"He's enjoyed his first month here and he hopes to continue enjoying his time at the club."

Neither Sweeney nor his teammates were on target though in the defeat at Gloucester, with Bower's post-match interview seeing him suggest that Avenue were lacking that killer final ball at times.

Clarifying those comments, he said: "On Saturday, our final balls didn't come off but they were quality at times against Hereford.

"If the players were consistent with that, then they'd be playing at a much higher level (than the National League North).

"It's a challenge for our younger players but we want to help them progress and make them more productive, with a view then to getting them to move up the ladder."