IT was a miserable day for Bradford (Park Avenue) in the FA Cup last Saturday, as they lost 6-2 at Gateshead, but one player stood tall.

Midfielder Isaac Marriott, formerly of Huddersfield Town's academy, hit both of Avenue's goals, with the second a 25-yard screamer.

Avenue boss Mark Bower is delighted Marriott has added that string to his bow, and is hoping for more of the same when his side visit Curzon Ashton in the National League North tomorrow.

He said: "Isaac gets about the pitch like no-one else I've ever played with or managed. His engine and ability to run with the ball is unbelievable.

"We wanted him to add goals to his game, as he's always getting into good areas, and he's done well with those two at Gateshead.

"We're hoping those goals will start a run for Isaac now, as he's strong in a lot of areas, but if he can improve on certain aspects, like scoring, he could go far in his career."

Seb Bolton made it on to the bench for Gateshead, just a day after netting in Avenue's FA Youth Cup win over Emley.

Fellow academy prospect, goalkeeper Liam Hall, was also among the substitutes up in the North East, and Bower said: "The new academy set-up here is only in its infancy, so that FA Youth Cup win last Friday was a really big thing for the club.

"It was a big step, as the standards before in the last few years weren't so good.

"A few of the academy lads have trained with the first team this season and you can see things have improved for the club on that front.

"(Academy technical director) Tom McStravick and the guys there are doing a really good job, so hopefully the progress continues, and several of those youngsters can feed into the first team in years to come."

Avenue matched Gateshead for most of last Saturday's cup clash, and were drawing 1-1 after an hour.

But Bower admitted heads dropped after their opponents netted a second and third in quick succession, and he is hoping Avenue don't produce a repeat tomorrow afternoon at Curzon.

Their hosts are perennial National League North strugglers, but have made a fine start this term, with 13 points from six games.

And Bower said: "It's a decent place to go, as they have a good pitch, but we know they've made a good start.

"Things seem to going well for them at the moment, and they've been bringing in a higher calibre of player than they have previously.

"They're in good form and are probably punching above their weight a bit at the moment, so it's just about us trying to impose ourselves on them this weekend."

On how the squad is shaping up for tomorrow, Bower said: "Jake Hibbs is out long-term with his broken leg, but we've also got Matty Downing struggling with a knee injury ahead of the weekend.

"We had hoped to bring a couple of players in, but the clubs we were signing them from both picked up injuries in the week, so those transfers fell through.

"We'd still like to bring in a couple of players for this weekend, but I'd say that's looking unlikely now."