THE current Bradford (Park Avenue) team is almost unrecognisable from the one that achieved successive National League North play-off finishes in 2018 and 2019.

But one man who was a key part of both of those, striker Oli Johnson, is still there, with manager Mark Bower admitting he is integral to the team.

The 33-year-old had a shot cleared off the line in the 1-0 defeat to Kettering Town last weekend and hit both goals in last season's win at tomorrow's opponents Hereford.

And Bower said: "If Oli is fit and on his game, he's a match-winner.

"In the final third, he's always creating chances and picking out good options.

"He's been with us for a while now, and we hope we can get him on the pitch a bit more this season than in recent times.

"He was our match-winner at Hereford last season and that's what he can do for you when he's playing."

Johnson and new strike partner Akeel Francis will be hoping to right the wrongs of the opening day loss to Kettering against Hereford, with Avenue doing everything but score and losing to a controversial penalty.

Bower is backing Francis to do the business this season though, saying: "Akeel's not trained much recently and was a bit short on match sharpness, so we only brought him on with 20 minutes to go at Kettering.

"We didn't expect him to be available to play, but his international clearance thankfully came through late on the Friday night.

"He did well when he came on, and like the team, he was a bit unlucky not to get a goal, when we had a hatful of chances to score."

Tomorrow's opponents Hereford are less than seven years old, a phoenix club for former League One side Hereford United.

The new team won three consecutive promotions after being formed, but have stalled somewhat in the National League North, with successive finishes of 17th, 16th and 12th.

Asked about Hereford's struggles, Bower said: "It is a surprise if you look at the size of the club, and it's been well-publicised over the last few seasons that they've had a healthy budget.

"You'd expect them to have a go this season, but it's not easy down here and it's easy to get stuck, as we've seen with Stockport and York.

"It's a tough league, so you have to be bang at it to compete."

Hereford had over 2,000 fans packed into Edgar Street for their opening day defeat to Farsley Celtic.

And while the numbers won't be on that scale for Avenue at Horsfall tomorrow, it is still set to be a brilliant occasion, for their first competitive game there in front of a crowd for nearly 18 months.

Bower said: "Having the fans back in just gives games that bit more of an edge.

"We got a feel for it in pre-season, but there's nothing like proper football when you're going for three points.

"We'd love to reward the fans for sticking with us over the past 18 months, purchasing the game streams and things like that, and hopefully we can put in a good performance."