BRADFORD (Park Avenue) have made a massive step forward as its young guns will play in a national league set-up next season, according to its academy chief.

The club's Scholars will join the National League Under-19s Alliance from this September, playing league games every Wednesday.

Tom McStravick, Avenue's academy technical director, says the move to join the league will help the club attract even more young talented players.

This move forms part of the next stage of Avenue's academy development plan, but despite having a bright future ahead, McStravick concedes there is still a lot more work for the club to do.

He said: "It's fantastic, it's a massive step forward for us. It's something that's been thought about for quite some time.

"It's about the direction to manage our current players and to attract other players as well, further down the line.

"The league will give them a competitive game project now.

"We can offer the scholar players high-quality coaching and fantastic facilities at the club.

"Without a doubt there is still a lot of work still to do in the club to bring us to where we want to be. But we have a real strong foundation to build on.

"We need to be providing players from our academy to our first team which is part of our plan to be a sustainable club.

"We are only scratching the surface at the moment.

"It's been stop-start over the last year or so with Covid.

"We want to build up more links with the local community as a club.

We're really excited about the future and for what is in store for us really

McStravick also says Avenue first-team manager Mark Bower is very supportive of the club's academy and four scholar players are training with the senior side.

The Alliance League move is a further boost for Avenue's youth set-up after the appointment of Chazz Mann as the club's Academy Manager (6-16s) last month. He also works at Leeds United's Academy.

Meanwhile, McStravick has just returned from taking part in a week-long summer camp in Italy.

In his other role, as an academy coach at Premier League side Leeds United, McStravick travelled to Milan to take part in Alcione's MilanoOrange Summer Camp.

This saw youngsters compete and is a tie-up between Leeds and Alcione as the son of United's owner, Andrea Radrizzani, plays for the Italian club.

McStravick added: "Alcione are an ambitious club and are a feeder club for Inter and AC Milan.

"It was a great experience and it was about improving and developing the club there and for me to bring back a few ideas to Avenue."

For more information on Avenue's scholarship programme, email