THERE has been plenty of activity at Bradford (Park Avenue) over the last few weeks, as manager Mark Bower has admitted South Shields’ offer for former Bantam Dylan Mottley-Henry was too good to turn down.

He also provided an explanation for Brad Dockerty’s surprise sideways move to Alfreton Town and how he expects a different Jamie Spencer coming back to the one who left three years ago.

On Mottley-Henry, Bower admitted: “You’ve got to do what’s right by the player.

“He did a really good job for us, on a non-contract basis earning very little money.

“We’d tied him down for next season, but when a club offers a significant amount of money to us and the player, who had a desire to turn full-time anyway, we don’t want to stand in the way.

“It’s not the first time we’ve lost a player and we always manage to replace them. It wasn’t a position we were looking to strengthen in, but now we are.”

Dockerty might have been expected to move to a higher level than National League North, but Bower explained: “Brad rang me and told me of his decision.

“He’s been having to drive up and down the country in trucks and lorries and he won’t have to now, so that was a big factor in him moving.

“Alfreton only just missed out on the play-offs, so he’ll probably feel it’s a step up too.

“Brad was unlucky, because he had a couple of Covid-interrupted seasons. I think if 2020/21 had kept going until the end, he would have really kicked on.

“We maybe would have got a fee for him too if that had been the case, but with the timing we just missed out.

“We want the lads to push on, and Brad actually had offers to go full-time in the National League, but he just felt Alfreton was the best place for him.”

Spencer is back at Horsfall, having been part of the squads that reached the National League North play-offs on two consecutive occasions.

But Bower said: “I think he’s a different player now, more mature and more of a leader than when he was younger.

“When I brought the experience of Nicky Clee, Luca Havern and Mark Ross back, we knew what we were getting.

“But I see Jamie as a player approaching his best years. He didn’t really kick on after he left us for Guiseley, with Covid and injuries, but we feel he has real potential.

“We want players to move up levels, and we feel Jamie can.

“It’s less about what’s gone before, I just know he’s a very good midfielder who can improve us.”

As for pre-season, Avenue get going on July 1 at home to Bradford City, with games against Scunthorpe and Guiseley pencilled in for later in the month.

It is a short turnaround, given last season only ended on May 7 for Avenue, with a small and fatigued squad.

But Bower said: “The season did finish later than usual but we’re used to a busy July pre-season and starting the league on the first weekend of August.

“Everyone enjoys getting a break but then they can’t wait to get back.

“You don’t need the two weeks of solid running like you used to at the start of pre-season, as you just expect the players to come back in better shape every year.

“We’ll be ready to go, and break the players back in so they’re match-ready.

“We’re hoping to announce a couple more friendlies soon, as well as more player announcements in the next week or so.”