BRADFORD (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is pleased he can now select a number of first team regulars to help fight for league survival, despite going out of the Buildbase FA Trophy at the hands of Halesowen.

Avenue, who were forced into selecting a side full of under-23s due to a number of players being cup tied, suffered a 2-0 defeat in the first round replay to the lower league opposition at The Grove.

Bradford sit at the bottom of the Vanarama National League North but did manage to pick up their first victory in seven against Altrincham in their last league outing.

Avenue drew 2-2 at Horsfall with Halesowen, who now have a home tie with Maidenhead in the next round.

Although disappointment still lingers for Bower after the defeat, he is glad that his team can now fully focus on the tough task of escaping relegation.

He said: “Obviously we would have liked to go as far as possible in it with the money useful for a club like ours but our one priority is to stay up and our full focus is on that.

“It has been a distraction in we have lost a bit of momentum having to make so many changes but we now won’t have to worry about not being able to play people like we have done for these cup games.

“We get back into training on Thursday and have full focus on the Christmas period.”

Two goals from Simeon Cobourne either side of the break sealed the deal for the Midlands side, who have won 11 out of their 13 Southern League Division One Central fixtures this term.

Bower was pleased with how his side started the contest but admits that Halesowen’s winning mentality toppled his young side.

He said: “With our experience at the back end of the pitch, the first goal was going to be massive.

“If we could have got in front, we had the experience to sit back and catch them on the break with the pace we had up front.

“I thought we were really good in the first half. We dominated the ball and got in some good areas, it was just that final ball.

“They had an opportunity to slip a through ball and the lad scored.

“The second half we never really got going, they strangled us a little bit and they deserved the win in the end.

“The lads gave a good account of themselves first half but we ran out of ideas and didn’t look like scoring a goal in the second half. We are disappointed to be out.

“They saw the game out really well. They are a team that has played together regularly and who are used to seeing games out.

“Over the two games they deserved to win so we congratulate them and wish them all the best in the next round.”