MARK Bower has admitted that the awful run of games his Bradford (Park Avenue) side are on is a source of frustration in their quest for survival.

Despite turning in some good performances over the last month or so, Avenue's prospects continue to look bleaker by the week, as they now sit 11 points from safety.

And they will start as clear second favourites when they host Brackley Town at Horsfall tomorrow, with the visitors having not lost a Vanarama National League North game since October 12.

Bower said: "By the time we play Southport (on February 1), 11 of our last 13 games will have been against teams in the top nine.

"Brackley will be as hard as anyone. We lost 8-0 last time we played them. There's not many players here left from that day, but we've got the responsibility to put on a better show here and redress the balance.

"They've got a core of players who've been there for years, and they know this level inside out.

"If you look at the top two of York and King's Lynn, they look really strong, but if anyone can challenge them it's Brackley. They could be the team that pushes them all the way."

Avenue certainly won't be challenging that trio this season, but they have at least picked up an important central midfielder in their relegation battle in Jake Hibbs.

Speaking about the on-loan Spennymoor Town man, who has come in after Jon Royle's return to Telford, Bower said: "He's a bit different to Royle.

"He's more of a box to box midfielder that brings more energy. Certainly in his first game against Boston he made a positive impact.

"His career has come to a bit of a pause over the last two years, so he was keen to play for us from the get go.

"He's not at full match fitness yet, but he's a good player, and he'll hopefully get there soon."

Hibbs may be in, but young full-backs Reece Staunton and Isaiah Bazeley have both returned to their parent clubs, Bradford City and Aston Villa respectively.

The pair left just before Avenue's vital game at Hereford last week, a game that Bower feels that his side should have won (they drew 1-1) given the chances they created.

Asked about the duo, Bower said: "We knew Reece was going back for the academy's FA Youth Cup game against Chelsea, but we didn't expect it to be so soon, as with Isaiah going back to Villa.

"Mitch Lund and Ryan Toulson have been filling in at full-back and it is just one of those things with bringing players in on loan. You're not in control of when they're recalled.

"But we appreciate those clubs letting us use them."

Bower admitted Staunton and Bazeley's departures had meant that a tight ship had just got even tighter, with only 15 players named in Avenue's squad at Hereford.

But he is hopeful of imminent reinforcements, saying: "We do need a couple of bodies in, so we've just got to play the waiting game.

"We're waiting for things (signings) happening further up the pyramid to filter down to us."