BRADFORD (Park Avenue) will be aiming to avenge their biggest defeat in recent years when they take on Brackley Town at Horsfall this weekend.

Town wreaked havoc last time out in Northamptonshire, cruising their way to an 8-0 victory in Marcus Law’s final game as Avenue interim boss.

Although Mark Bower has come in for his second spell in charge, Bradford struggles have continued, propping up the rest of the National League North on a miserable 13 points.

Here’s all the news, analysis and insight that you need ahead of Saturday’s 3:00 pm kick-off.

Form guide

Mark Bower’s side halted their six-match losing run with a 1-1 draw at Hereford, in a match they had plenty of chances to steal all the spoils.

However, after Blyth Spartans win over fellow relegation rivals Curzon Ashton, Park Avenue sit 10 points adrift of Spartans and a further point away from the drop zone.

Brackley have been unbeaten in their last 10, collecting six wins, which has put them firmly in the playoff zone up in fourth.

Although due to postponements, the visitors haven’t played in a fortnight and face a crucial match against fifth place Boston United on Tuesday.

Opponent history

Founded in 1890, Brackley is a small market town with a 15,000 population sandwiched between Northampton, Milton Keynes and Oxford.

It was not until the 2011/12 season that Town won the Southern League Premier Division to advance into step 2 football for the first time in their long history.

After being placed in the Conference North the Saints have carried mixed fortunes, surviving the drop on the last day twice as well as recording three third place finishes.

Their most successful campaign was the 2017/18, capturing the FA Trophy at a 30,000 packed Wembley after a penalty win over Bromley and narrowly missing out on promotion to Harrogate Town after knocking Avenue out in the semis.

Bower’s thoughts: Brackley the side to push the top two

"There's not many players here left from that day (when we lost 8-0), 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."

Team news

Since the departure of Reece Staunton and Isaiah Bazeley to their parent clubs, Bradford are left with a small 15-man squad, despite having no injury concerns.

Town have the best defence in the league with their back five only conceding 14, while Lee Ndlovu and James Armson usually grab their goals, netting a combined 22 this campaign.

Possible line ups

BPA: Green, Toulson, Priestley, Hughes, Lund, Nowakowski, Hibbs, Hall, Clee, Hurst, Knight

Brackley: Lewis, Myles, Franklin, Byrne, Audel, Dean, Langmead, Murombedzi, Ndlovu , Armson, Walker

Battle to watch: Lewis Knight v Lee Ndlovu

It is said that to fight at the top end of the league you need a reliable striker and Brackley have certainly got that in Ndlovu.

The striker, who scored a brace in the reverse fixture, collected the December player of the month award after bagging 10 goals in his last eight games, taking his tally up to 14 for the season.

For Avenue they will be relying on their own top scorer, admitting with a much fewer total of four, Knight looked electric when he returned from injury at Hereford.

The 20-year-old helped created two chances before almost scoring himself with an amazing dash from the half-way line.

Head to head

The pair have played each other 16 times over the last decade all in the National League North (or the equivalent with the numerous name changes).

Brackley slightly edge the amount of victories, recording eight over Bradford’s six, with the last two meetings generating 11 goals all in Town’s favour.

The most memorable of their encounters is that playoff semi-final in 2018 when a Aaron Williams 110th minute strike knocked Avenue out at the penultimate hurdle.