BRADFORD (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is breathing a huge sigh of relief after discovering his only first-team goalkeeper, Joe Green, is expected to be out for just a couple of weeks.

Green collided heavily with an opposition striker during Avenue’s 2-0 FA Trophy defeat at Halesowen Town on Tuesday night and there was speculation that he may have broken his leg.

That is fortunately not the case, but it does mean that 46-year-old Steve Dickinson, who is the club’s goalkeeping coach, may have to take Green’s place over the Christmas period.

Bower expects to have a strong squad otherwise for tomorrow’s trip to Spennymoor Town in the Vanarama National League North, but admitted that the search for an emergency goalkeeper has begun in earnest.

He said: “There’s no break for Joe so he shouldn’t be out for too long. His leg’s a bit of a mess but the scans showed there’s no fracture or crack.

“We expect him to have about two weeks out so we’ll look around to see what we can get in. It’s difficult because people want to keep their squads together for Christmas. But Dicko (Dickinson) can do a job for us if necessary.”

Asked why Green is a vital part of his squad, Bower said: “He’s got all the attributes to be a top keeper. He's a good height and not afraid to come for crosses either.

“We were shipping goals before Joe came in but we've had a couple of clean sheets in our last five games. He's still only young himself, but other young players will look to be around him to be improved.”

In a statement, the club thanked supporter, Steve Horsfield, who volunteered to wait behind in order to provide transport back to Bradford in the early hours of Wednesday morning after Green was assessed in hospital.

Bower conceded that Halesowen deserved to beat Avenue in that FA Trophy replay, but he admitted that it was an extremely difficult game for his decimated side.

He said: “We don't want to make excuses, as we could have got through. But we had 12 players, one of whom was ill, a couple playing out of position and then Joe got injured. It was frustrating but in the second half, they deserved it.”

The Avenue line up on Saturday at Spennymoor should be much more like the one who delivered an excellent 2-0 league win over Altrincham a fortnight ago.

Bower said: “Everyone bar Joe is available, so we'll be a lot stronger with more options. There'll be a few changes from Tuesday and it will be good to go back to full strength.

“We'll look to carry on from our deserved victory against Altrincham and we've got a bit of belief after beating them and Gloucester (FA Trophy) and the performance at Chester. It should provide us with lift-off.”

Asked whether coming up against his former Avenue players Ben McKenna and Adam Boyes would have an impact, Bower said: “I don't think so, and there's probably only Ben who'll start for Spennymoor.

“We come up against ex-players from the club or ex-players of mine most weeks anyway. Spennymoor haven't played for two weeks though, and they'll be needing or expecting a result against us.

“But if we just do our jobs to the best of our ability, then we'll have a chance.”