BRADFORD (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower is thrilled about the potential atmosphere at Horsfall for today's big clash with York City, despite knowing his side face an unenviable task.

A 3-0 defeat to Spennymoor Town on Saturday meant Avenue stayed bottom of the Vanarama National League North table, and the club are now eight points off safety.

Conversely, York sit second after a couple of seasons of mid-table mediocrity, and Bower has highlighted impressive signings as the reason why the Minstermen are finally flying high.

Discussing York's Boxing Day league visit, Bower said: "It's really good for us.

"We've had Salford City and Curzon Ashton here on Boxing Day and New Year in the last couple of years and those games were a bit flat.

"But this season we've got the big derbies with York on those days and certainly for today's game at Horsfall, we'll be expecting people through the turnstiles.

"Hopefully we play like we did in our last home game, where we showed a lot of grit against Altrincham and put in one of our better performances."

Bower added: "For the last three seasons, everyone's been expecting York to be where they are now.

"We played York at home in April when we were in the play-off positions (and lost 3-1) and you could see then they had the beginnings of a team that would be right up there this year.

"(Former Newcastle United and Aston Villa player) Steve Watson came in part way through last season.

"He recruited well then and did so again in the summer.Their form in the last few games (one league win in six) has been surprising, but it happens to all teams throughout a season.

"I still expect them to be up there at the end of the season but we'll hope to prolong their bad run."

Avenue are on a bad run too, with only one league win in eight, but Bower believes his side have been unlucky.

He said: "Our results have not been what we'd have liked but they have been harsh on us.

"We had a really good win against Alty (Altrincham), and we took that belief to Spennymoor. Had we scored first when we were playing well, that game could have been different.

"We're not too far from getting results and we have the ability, we just need to get a bit of momentum going."

Avenue's injury list is not helping them in their quest for victories, but Bower is hopeful that some of those who missed the Spennymoor game, or who went off injured during it, will return today to face York.

Adam Nowakowski, Mitchell Lund and Oli Johnson all had to be substituted on Saturday, but Bower said: "Oli and Mitch potentially should come back in, but Adam is going to be out for a week or 10 days with his hamstring.

"Reece Staunton and Ryan Toulson were both ill for Spennymoor but with a bit of a gap to this game, they should be fit too.

"We're on a tough run at the moment with Chester, Alty, Spennymoor, York and Farsley, so we need all the players to be fit and ready."