VETERAN Bradford (Park Avenue) striker Oli Johnson will have plenty of company up top this season, with four forwards joining the club this summer.

Jacob Blyth, Eddie Church, Will Longbottom and Lloyd Smith are all now plying their trade at Horsfall, which hosts Avenue’s National League North opener against freshly-relegated King’s Lynn Town tomorrow.

Goals were hard to come by at times for Avenue last season, and with exciting attackers Lewis Knight and Brad Dockerty departing for pastures new, strengthening up front was key.

Avenue boss Mark Bower said: “People said last year we were a bit short up top, and with Lewis and Brad moving on, we needed to bring in good options.

“They’re all different players, Eddie’s a real poacher in the box, Jacob’s more of a target man, Will often likes to play a little deeper and Lloyd is good with the ball at his feet, and can play in behind or out wide.

“I hope they can all contribute this season with those different attributes, and with Eddie and Lloyd being the youngest, Oli and Jacob’s experience should be able to help them out.”

Avenue announced this week that two more goalkeepers would be staying at the club in Danny King and Liam Hall.

The former was the goalkeeping coach last year, but is now player-coach.

Bower explained: “Danny’s only really there as emergency back-up. He’s still a coach first and foremost, but I’m sure he can do a job for us if needed.

“He’ll mainly be looking after George (Sykes-Kenworthy) and Liam and it’s a great group they have the three of them.

“Liam has a great attitude as a young keeper and they’ll all be working hard together.”

Bower was asked about whether versatile veteran Adam Nowakowski would be returning to the club a couple of weeks ago, and he was named as a substitute for their final friendly against Guiseley.

No official announcement has been made, but Bower smiled: “All I’ll say is it bodes well that he was on the bench for that game.”

Bower hopes there might be one or two signings made official ahead of the match against King’s Lynn this weekend.

Asked whether they’d rather not be playing a side that were in the National League last season, he said: “It’s probably the newly-promoted teams that you want to avoid early on, as they’re the ones with momentum and good feeling behind them.

“King’s Lynn will be strong though, as they’ve retained some top players and brought in good quality over the summer too.

“They’ll be eyeing the play-offs at least, so it’s a tough start, but we have a solid home record.

“We have a pretty fit group of lads, and all of them should be injury-free for this weekend.

“But it will be a case of coping with that first 20 minutes, as the first competitive game is another level of intensity compared to training and pre-season.”

Bower insisted he was, on the whole, “pleased” with how pre-season had gone for Avenue, and talking about going forward, he said: “Some of our key players in George, Dylan Mottley-Henry and Simon Richman came in partway through last season.

“We’ll still be looking to improve the squad throughout the season, but it is a little harder, as with Covid, the last two seasons I think people just wanted to play, whereas now, players are weighing up their options a bit more.

“Other clubs have more money too, but we’ll still work on getting the right people in for us.”