WITH Bradford (Park Avenue) having a weekend off, I thought it would be a great idea to review their start to the 2020-21 campaign before a busy upcoming festive period.

Covid-19 has made it a season like no other. The void of fans has been huge especially at non-league level where they are so much more involved with their club.

The pandemic is also the reason why the Vanarama National League North table looks so scrambled at the moment. Nine teams aren't even in double figures yet in terms of games played.

Luckily, Avenue have been able to complete a quarter of their fixtures with mixed success. The one thing you can say though is Mark Bower has built a team unnoticeable from the one which finished rock-bottom last term.

Already they are only seven points away from matching the lowly 20 in 2019-20. The most frightening statistic is the goal scored column.

At this early stage Lewis Knight has bettered his tally of 19-20 (six). After briefly playing second fiddle to Adam Nowakowski in the position, Knight has made that centre forward spot his own, bagging a stunning seven in nine.

It is the spread of goals which has also impressed. Nine players from all around the pitch have landed on the scoresheet thus far.

Defensively is where the main issues previously stood, 80 goals were conceded in 33 games. However, since the reintroduction of accomplished duo Mark Ross and Luca Havern, solidarity of some sort has been achieved.

A special mention must go to Mitch Lund too. The young centre half was playing brilliantly before injury hit meaning he can't do any contact work until at least February.

Other than the thrilling draws at Gloucester City and AFC Fylde, the backline has kept four clean sheets against esteemed opposition.

In midfield, Isaac Marriott and Jake Hibbs have been relentless not missing a single game, while Ryan Toulson has been the surprise package. Him and Clee, who are 35 and 37 respectively, have dominated that middle of the park area at times.

With the away form being so excellent, only losing one in six, it has been at Horsfall where Bradford have slightly struggled, collecting four points from 15.

Bower's men may also be a bit jealous of league rivals Chorley and ninth-tier Marine. The pair are making national headlines with their endeavours in the Emirates FA Cup, about to host Championship Derby County and giants Spurs. Avenue fell out of the competition immediately.

Nevertheless, it has been a much-improved and positive start to the season for the 12th-placed team, and director of football Martin Knight concurs.

He said: "Last year was an odd year for everyone, we were the whipping boys of the division. Teams were looking at us and thinking that’s a win.

"People are looking at us this year and thinking they can defend, even though we have been involved in a 3-3 and a 4-4, and we can also attack.

"The results are ok. We shouldn’t get carried away because the league table is all over the place.

"I think we are competitive. The squad has had some players step up way more than we thought."

Knight is also complimentary of his management team and thinks they are on course to achieve their target.

"Mark and Danny (Boshell) have done a fantastic job so far," he added.

"I still maintain the best signing of the season was Mark and Danny on a three-year deal. Without them two, do we get Nicky Clee, Mark Ross and Luca Havern? They are the spine of the team.

"Sometimes you look at us on the pitch and you have only got three players over the age of 24. The bonkers thing is Mark likes an experienced team. He is not getting enough credit for that.

"Don’t get relegated let's start there. Get 43 points, which is what you need in this league, then we will see where we go."