MARK Bower has been impressed with Lucas Odunston since his return to fitness, with the versatile former Hull man starring in a defence that has kept four clean sheets from four.

Avenue are all but safe now in National League North going into the Easter double header with Boston and Guiseley after a five-game unbeaten run.

Odunston has been racking up the clean sheets at right-back, despite not being brought in for that role.

Avenue boss Bower explained: “When Lucas came in last summer, we had a lot of options at right-back, and he’d been used as a midfielder and done well, so that’s where we signed him to play primarily.

“Maybe I’ve been too careful with him over his injuries at times, and he’s had a few, but he’s come back fitter and stronger.

“He’s been able to play Saturdays and Tuesdays, which bodes well for him.

“He’s started the last six at right back, and been part of a defence that has only conceded three goals in that time.

“I’m pleased to see him being able to last 90 minutes too.”

On the other side of the pitch, recent arrival Taylor Lagan could get some game time.

Teenager Lagan, who arrived at Horsfall days after fellow youngster Rob Guilfoyle left Avenue by mutual consent, had been in Leeds’ academy until November.

Bower said: “We definitely want to look at Taylor before the end of the season.

“We would have done sooner but he’s had Covid, though hopefully he’ll get minutes over Easter.

“We hope he does well, and he’s an option at left-back or left wing-back.”

Whoever plays in defence will need to be on top form once more to keep out play-off chasing Boston this afternoon.

Bower said: “They’ve got a very strong, massive squad and they’ve maintained a play-off position despite having lots of injuries.

“They have some real quality in there and promotion will still be their target.

“Danny Elliott gets a lot of goals for them, but so do Brad Abbott and Shane Byrne.

“They score a lot from set-plays too, so we’ll have to focus on different angles to carry on our recent clean sheet record.

“They face (leaders) Brackley on Monday too, so they’ll be looking at our game as one they need to win.”

Avenue host rock-bottom West Yorkshire rivals Guiseley on Easter Monday, with the Lions buoyant after bringing in former boss Steve Kittrick and securing a vital win at Kettering on Tuesday night.

Bower mused: “Guiseley had been on a really bad run and maybe they just needed a fresh voice in the dressing room, with some players maybe feeling they had gone as far as they could under the previous managers.

“It’s a clean slate for them now and they showed that with a great win at play-off chasing Kettering.

“They’ve not got the resources compared to when I was there with Steve a decade ago, but they’ve still got quality players and wouldn’t expect to be bottom.

“I owe the club a lot, as they gave me my break in management, so I hope they escape, but obviously all I’m after is an Avenue win on Monday.”

Avenue expect Mitch Lund and Dylan Mottley-Henry to be fit for today, but Simon Richman has tweaked his hamstring, and is likely to be out for a couple of weeks.