BRADFORD (Park Avenue)'s National League North season ends tomorrow at home to Southport, and boss Mark Bower hopes his star attacking duo can finish on a high before flourishing next term.

Brad Dockerty and Lewis Knight, the latter only rejoining the club on loan in January, have caused defences no end of problems of late.

But Dockerty is Avenue's top scorer with just 10 goals in 38 games, a far cry from when Adam Boyes and then Jake Beesley hit over double that in firing Bower's side to the play-offs in 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively.

Asked if his men up top needed to be more clinical, Bower mused: "We definitely want to keep Brad and Lewis here and look, if we'd had a full season of them both together, at least one of them might have been pushing towards that 20-goal mark.

"We've improved as a team as the season's gone on too, because we were struggling in that first 10 to 15 games.

"Everyone wants that 20+ goal striker, and if both Brad and Lewis stay, that'll be their target, one I think they're capable of.

"But take Brad for example, it's his first full season playing regularly at this level, and while he's done well, there's still room for improvement, and I hope he pushes on with that with us."

Summing up the campaign as a whole, Bower said: "It's a different challenge compared to other seasons, when we had those 20-goal strikers and a bit more strength in depth.

"We still over-achieved in making the play-offs, but we're not quite where we were at back then, it's about building a foundation to challenge in a few years.

"If we can unearth a few diamonds, like we have with Lucas Odunston and George Sykes-Kenworthy this year, then I think we can try and push on further next season.

"We have to be realistic but we want to improve, and with four relegation places next year and the league expanding to 24 teams, it'll keep us on our toes."

Avenue have to finish this season first, and discussing Southport, whose faltering end to the campaign has cost them a shot at the play-offs, Bower said: "They'll want to win.

"They're a threat from set-pieces and long throws, which can turn the game in an instant, but I've watched them a couple of times this season and they've got good players who can dominate possession too.

"But we'd like to end on a positive ourselves after losing 4-0 at Chester on Monday.

"We have actually gone four unbeaten at home, but they were all 0-0. It would be nice to give something back to the supporters after their return from Covid for this season, and what better way to do that with some goals and a win?"

As for availability, Bower said: "Harrison Hopper might be struggling after coming off with injury in the last game, and there's a couple carrying knocks

"We've had to strap a few lads up too, like Sam Fielding, who had to play two games last weekend having barely trained through injury.

"Fatigue has just caught up with our small squad, and we've maybe lost that bit of adrenalin now we're safe.

"A few of the young lads have never played this many games, and some are running on empty.

"There probably isn't anyone in the squad who can put their hand up and say they're fully fit, but the lads are keen to do well one last time before we look forward to next season."