MARK Bower thinks Bradford (Park Avenue) silenced a few doubters in their narrow 2-1 defeat at neighbours Farsley Celtic.

The Avenue boss witnessed a much-improved performance, compared to the dismal showing at home to Yorkshire Amateur.

Park Avenue were the better team in large spells and unluckily found themselves a goal down due to an Adam Clayton header.

The visitors rallied and got an equaliser through Brad Dockerty. Last-minute heartbreak followed though when Luke Parkin converted from the spot.

Bower is in a positive mood with just under a fortnight to go before the new season commences.

He said: "I thought we were decent away from home against a side in our league that had a strong season last year and have kept the majority of their players.

"A criticism which we have had through pre-season is that we have lacked that final ball at times. We did get a couple of chances, but didn’t have that finishing touch

"It was a proper game against proper opposition. We played an XI that will be something like what we will start the season with.

"We had those combinations on the pitch that have not been present in the other games.

"We have got plenty of improvement to make, but it should give people confidence after there were a few doubts about us due to the results we have had."

After conceding 80 goals in 33 games last term, defence is an area where improvements must be made. Bower received encouraging signs on the whole at The Citadel.

He added: "It is something we have talked about, making ourselves harder to beat.

"Last year, we conceded early on a number of times and we had to address that because we can not be chasing games every week at this level.

"Luca (Havern), Lundy (Mitch Lund) and Rossy (Mark Ross) give us that experienced core, and Dan (Atkinson) has looked good in goal throughout pre-season.

"It gives the likes of (Isaac) Marriott, Brad, Lewis (Knight) and Tabish (Hussain) the ability to show their qualities at the top end of the pitch."

The Bradford manager is disappointed at the Spennymoor Town game falling through, as he tries to put his final bits of preparation in place.

Bower said: "We have had a setback with the game at the weekend going, so we will try get something else arranged.

"Everyone is in the same boat. Nobody has had an ideal pre-season.

"We will not use it as an excuse. Tonight (Tuesday) showed that we are in a good position to compete with the sides at our level. We have just got to fine tune before the season starts."