BRADFORD (Park Avenue) shipped 80 goals in just 33 National League North games last season, so manager Mark Bower is delighted to see them keep three clean sheets in a row.

They had to fight hard, but won 2-0 at Hereford on October 27, drew 0-0 with Chorley four days later, before beating Alfreton 2-0 last weekend.

And that defence has been strengthened further still by the signing of young central defender Luke Lyons yesterday evening, who has joined after being released by Leeds United.

Asked what has changed from last season, Bower said: "It's the all round package really. Our keeper (Dan Atkinson) has come in and done very well.

"We've got some experience with Luca Havern and Mark Ross back in that back four, Lundy (Mitch Lund) has impressed alongside them, then Harry Boyes has come in at left back and put in some very good performances.

"But the whole team is fighting hard and closing down all over the pitch. We're stopping that supply line and access into our box, which is always going to give us a chance of winning games."

They'll also give themselves a chance of winning games if they can put together more fine team moves like the one that saw midfielder Jake Hibbs net the opener against Alfreton.

It was his first goal of the season, and Bower said: "He's got that in his game. He's energetic, box-to-box and can get into goalscoring positions.

"He should be doing it more often really. He and Isaac Marriott are similar players and they can both score more.

"Isaac was unfortunate not to score against Alfreton himself. It's good to see as we need goals from all over the pitch."

They will surely need goals if they are to overcome Gloucester this weekend, with their hosts comfortably the top scorers in the division so far with 19 in six games.

They struggled like Avenue last season, and asked what was behind their turnaround, Bower said: "They've clearly got the resources now to sign some big players, the stand out being (Akwasi) Asante up front.

"Chester wanted to keep hold of him but he's gone there instead. You've seen what they can do in terms of attracting players and beyond the teams everyone is talking about, Fylde and York, they're probably the favourites to go up.

"Their entire team is very good, and in terms of their style, they can play a bit, but they're also physical.

"I think they can last the pace this season, as they've got what you need to deal with the different challenges this league throws at you."

But do Avenue? Bower admitted numbers are thin on the ground once again for today's away clash.

He said: "We're hoping to have some players back, as we couldn't even fill the bench last week, but there might be a couple missing that played then too.

"We're hoping to get a few more new signings in over the next couple of weeks. We've got about five or six players unavailable up front, so we're desperate to get someone in in that position in particular."