REPUTATION can be everything in football. Players can reject a club after seeing they have a poor track record, alternatively, agents may take an interest in offering their clients thanks to a certain recommendation.

It seems to have been the latter during Mark Bower’s tenure at Bradford (Park Avenue). The manager has been able to attract excellent talent desperate for a chance to prove themselves.

Think of Alex Hurst (Port Vale), Jake Beesley (Rochdale) and Reece Staunton (City) all players that once appeared at Horsfall and have since played games in the EFL.

Bower said: “If I am an agent of a player and I could put him in one of the big budget teams in our league where he might play 10/15 games, or he can come play the whole season at Avenue. You would prefer them to come to us.

“We have set ourselves out as a club who can help people improve their careers and get going in the right direction again.

“That does not stop we still have players in the squad like Isaac (Marriott), Brad (Dockerty) and Dan (Atkinson) who have done really well for us. It is a never-ending process."

Lewis Knight is the latest Avenue player to move on to bigger challenges, signing for full-time outfit Notts County earlier this week.

The Bradford boss added: “Lewis ticks a lot of boxes at professional level, and I think there is a lot more to come from him.

“He needs to have good body language then his quality will shine through.

“I think he is worth that investment, they have got a real diamond on their hands. Hopefully down the line there will be financial benefits for us too.

“He has got those attributes which you cannot train. He is not just quick; he is extra special quick. That pace can take him right to the top.

“Putting the ball in the back of the net can take you a long way too and he has done that really well for us this season.

“It was nice that it happened on the same week Alex Hurst scored his first EFL goal."

He added: "I will always remember the first game Lewis had for us at Silsden in a pre-season friendly.

"He came in and was soft around the edges. Coming from America, he looked young and naïve.

"But what he did in that game was make some really good runs and got in behind defences. He had intelligence above most players his age.

"We had some really good wide players that season, the likes of Ben Mckenna and Oli Johnson, but Lewis cemented that place come October/November time.

"He was really important in that team who went top of the league and qualified for the playoffs.

" The following season senior players went and there was too much weight put on his shoulders.

"This season we have been able to get that experience and quality around him so we have seen him step up. His goal record speaks for itself, and there were all different types of goals as well."

Bower is aiming to make the most of the extra time he has been granted this off-season.

“It is a really rarity for me as a manager. We always seem to go right down to the wire, whether that has been trying to stay up or get into the playoffs.

“We don’t usually get cracking for plans for the next season until well into May, so we are well in front this time.

“It is more a case of carrying on with what we have got rather than a clearance of the decks.

“We are light at the top end of the pitch so we will look to bring in replacements to make the same sort of impact Alex, Lewis and Jake made in the past.”

Yesterday, as expected, it was announced the FA Alliance Committee (FAC) have rejected the Step 2 mini-league proposal "in the interest of the integrity of the National League System".

The decision will require FA Council approval.