THREE managers, 54 players and only 20 points. It is fair to say that, in a season that promised so much, Bradford (Park Avenue) failed to live up to expectations.

After surviving relegation on a unique technicality (read more), I look at five reasons why it all went wrong and how improvements can be made going into next season:

Coaching and player upheaval

Back-to-back opening 5-0 defeats against Curzon Ashton and Guiseley immediately cost Garry Thompson his first managerial job and set the tone for the remainder of the curtailed campaign.

Interim boss Marcus Law did not do much better, losing six out of his 10 games in charge.

Two-time play-off finisher Mark Bower then returned to pick up the pieces after Bradford had just suffered their biggest loss in recent times, an 8-0 hammering at the hands of Brackley Town.

In the space of three months, from the 16 players that were selected for that first game, only six players remained at the club for Bower's opener.

Miraculously, he started quickly by producing a shock 3-2 win over in-form Hereford. However, that success was short lived, as the following 20 league games only resulted in three further victories.

Wins against leaders King's Lynn Town and play-off chasers Chester just before the early end to the season did bring some promise, but with Avenue virtually 13 points from safety, due to their awful goal difference, it was always going to be an uphill task in the remaining nine matches.

When what turned out to be the final game did come around on March 14, only three players remained from the start of the campaign: Mitch Lund, Lewis Knight and loanee Alex Hurst.

No team can be successful with that amount of change. It was the club's highest turnover since the 2005/06 campaign, where an astounding 62 players were used.

With Bower and assistant Danny Boshell recently given long-term contracts and with the retention of promising youth players like Knight and Lund, the future does look bright.

But a core with ability and experience must be established to avoid what happened last season.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Older heads crucial

The captain at a football club is supposed to be a figure of authority and leadership, as they bear the responsibility of trying to encourage their team to success.

At Horsfall last term, the armband was thrown around like a game of pass the parcel. The likes of Ryan Cresswell, Rhys Taylor, Keith Lowe and Nicky Clee all had a turn.

Upon Bower's return, trusted former players Oli Johnson and Adam Nowakowski followed in joining him at Horsfall.

The problem was the pair were now being asked to become reliable first teamers, when previously they were only squad players.

If Avenue are to improve, they need a skipper they can depend on all season, and leaders all over the pitch.

Defensive problems

When a team finishes rock-bottom it is usually their fragilities at the back that is the cause, and this was no different in Avenue's case.

All in all, 17 defenders and five goalkeepers were involved in the 80 goals conceded in Avenue's 2019/20 Vanarama National League North campaign.

Bower did, at one point, decide on a somewhat settled back five of Joe Green, Ryan Toulson, Liam Hughes, Billy Priestley and Mitch Lund.

However, the goals continued to leak, leading to further reshuffling and the club bringing in the likes of goalkeeper Tom Nicholson and full back Stelios Demetriou.

As it stands, Lund and Toulson remain the only ones at the back staying on, while new signing Dan Atkinson is the man between the sticks.

Bradford must almost halve that goals against column next season to reverse their fortunes.

Where's the goals?

It is not rocket science that to win football matches you need to score goals. The lack of a potent centre forward was another factor in Avenue's dismal campaign, where they only scored a bleak 25 in total.

In the last two seasons, the Horsfall faithful were used to having a frontman they could rely on, with Jake Beesley (21 in 2018/19) and Adam Boyes (20 in 2017/18) each netting plenty of league goals.

Early on last season, Zayn Hakeem and Myron Gibbons both failed drastically, with neither of them scoring in their combined nine appearances.

Loanee Dan Sweeney fared little better, with only a penalty to show from his nine games. It was forward Brad Dockerty who impressed the most, bagging three goals in five starts.

Bower utilised an old fans' favourite on his return. Johnson had a better than one goal per three games ratio for Avenue in his previous 92 games for the club.

Unfortunately, that form was not replicated in 2019/20, as he only managed three goals in 20 matches.

Bower also recruited former Bradford City academy product, Tom Clare.

The 6'4" number nine blew hot and cold, bagging against high-flying Chester and King's Lynn, but struggling against more lowly opposition. Clare finished on five goals from 14 appearances.

So, who ended up as Avenue's top scorer? That title fell to 21-year-old winger Lewis Knight, with his lowly six goals being enough.

With him and Dockerty signed up for next season, Avenue may only need to add a prolific striker to see the goals come flooding back.

The entertainment factor

It is often a fine line between winning games and giving spectators something enjoyable to watch. For Avenue last season, it was neither, after losing 23 of their 33 league games.

Despite supporters aiming for stability in terms of results next time out, the new Horsfall 3G pitch (read more) may give Bower different options. The carpet-like surface could be brilliant to help play entertaining football.

Unfortunately, the loss of the talented Hurst, who made the most appearances (37) for the club last term and returned to Port Vale after his loan expired, may leave a big hole.

But with technical footballers like Isaac Marriott and Jake Hibbs already on the books for next season, Horsfall may become a more appealing proposition for footballers to ply their trade.

What did you think went wrong last season? Vote in the poll below on where you think Avenue will finish next season.