IT is almost an entire month since Mark Bower's squad last pulled on the Avenue shirt and there does not come a much tougher return than hosting promotion chasing Chester at Horsfall.

Despite Avenue's miserable campaign, a long standing 50-year undefeated home record over the Blues could count for something this afternoon.

Here’s all the news, analysis and insight that you need ahead of Saturday’s Vanarama National League North 3pm kick-off.

Form Guide

This time last year it was Avenue in a similar position to that of Chester, a great start to the season before slightly falling off whilst still being firmly in the playoff picture.

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley's men had only lost two of their 16 fixtures going into the reverse fixture back in November.

Even though the Blues recorded a 2-1 win on that freezing afternoon, five defeats have followed leaving them in fifth, only a couple of points above eighth-placed Gateshead.

In recent times, Chester's form has been good winning three of their last four in all competitions, a run which has included victories over league favourites Kings Lynn Town and Sky Bet League One side Tranmere Rovers in the Cheshire Senior Cup quarter-final.

The same can not be said for Avenue who will be sick of seeing their own record, winless in 10 and 15 points adrift at the bottom.

Bower’s thoughts: Experienced Chester in good position for promotion

“Chester have played more than us in the last few weeks and they’ve got a hybrid structure there, which means they can train on daytimes and evenings.

“They’re naturally more prepared than us and they’ve got really good experience, which will stand them in good stead over the last part of the season, where you sort the men from the boys.

“They’ve got quality in both boxes, top level strikers who know where the goal is and a solid defensive triangle (goalkeeper and two centre backs).

“Their players and managers have been there and done it and had success in getting promotion before.

“But we have some lads who’ve been there and done it too, and we’re looking to them to do the right things at the right time tomorrow.”

Team News

Bradford should have a fresh squad to chose from but may still have problems at the back with Billy Priestley the only recognised central defender after Liam Hughes departure last month.

Bower has brought in right back Karl Byrne on a free which could mean the player currently occupying that position, Ryan Toulson, shifting into the centre to make room in the team for the young Irishman.

Chester should be able to welcome back top scorer Akwasi Asante from injury while strike partner Danny Eliott gained valuable game time in mid-week which could lead to another start.

Possible line-ups

BPA: Nicholson, Byrne, Priestley, Toulson, Demetriou, Clee (C), Hibbs, Hall, Hurst, Knight, Johnson

Chester: Gray, K Roberts, Taylor, Burton (C), Jones, Grand, Jackson, Glendon, Asante, Johnston, Elliott

Battle to watch: Knight v Asante

It could be a jostle between the two club's best marksmen, despite 13 goals separating the pair.

Lewis Knight has netted five times and is always a threat down either wing with his pace and dribbling ability.

For the visitors, Asante has bagged 18 goals placing him second best in the league.

Although, the Dutch striker has just returned to fitness, he is certain to pose the biggest problem to a fragile Bradford defence.

Odds: BPA 9/2, Chester 1/2, Draw 3/1

Head to Head

Bradford competed well in the aforementioned defeat they suffered at the Deva Stadium, taking the lead through a Billy Priestley effort before early second half strikes from Anthony Dudley and Asante.

In previous meetings, it has been fairly equally with Avenue just edging it in the win column 19 over 17, the remaining eight games ending in draws.

The statistic that will most please the home fans is the one which shows Chester not winning in any of their three visits to the Horsfall Stadium.

The Seals' last away victory in Bradford came in Park Avenue's painful last season in the football league back in 1970.