LUCA Havern says he is eager to support Bradford (Park Avenue) in every way possible after taking over as the club’s caretaker manager.

On Monday it was announced that Avenue would be parting ways with Mark Bower and his assistant, Danny Boshell, with the club floundering down in 18th in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

Havern, who has been part of the Avenue squad for several years and most recently as a player-coach alongside Bower, will now take over as interim boss alongside fellow player-coach, Oli Johnson.

The pair of them will be hoping they can turn the club’s fortunes round in the coming weeks following Bower’s exit, which was something that left them feeling sorry.

Havern said: “It’s sad news for the club and for myself because he (Bower) brought me in as a player, eventually made me captain and then promoted me to coach alongside him. So, I’m sad to see him go; he’s someone that I learned a lot from alongside Danny (Boshell) and I’d class the pair of them as friends.

“Obviously, it’s been a difficult period for everyone at the club with what happened last year and, of course, with the restraints we are working under financially. As I say, it’s been difficult, but football moves on quickly and there are now two games that we must prepare the lads for over the weekend.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Luca Havern (right) is taking over from Mark Bower (back), having been one of the former boss' key lieutenants for so long. Luca Havern (right) is taking over from Mark Bower (back), having been one of the former boss' key lieutenants for so long. (Image: John Rhodes)

Discussing whether he felt it was the right time for a change at the club, Havern said: “Not necessarily. I know a lot of our supporters were calling for a change, but I don’t know if it’s all on the management. Granted, it’s a results-based business and we haven’t been good enough in that aspect over the past year or so, but we have been extremely unlucky with injuries, which has meant that we’ve not been able to play experienced players, and instead we’ve had to use a lot of young and less experienced players.

“I know for a fact that last season we had the lowest budget in National League North, and this year we don’t have as much as the top six sides, so it does hurt us when we have so many injuries. We’ve got a very good core of experienced players, but we do feel it when players are out because you need experience in your side when you are where we are in the league. However, we don’t want to make too many excuses because we’ve got to prepare the team to give it a right good go against Matlock and Marine on Saturday and Monday.”

Bower departed the club on Monday, and it was straight to work on the training ground for Havern, who admitted that it’s been a very out of the ordinary week for him and his assistant, Oli Johnson.

He said: “It’s been very different, that’s for sure. It’s been non-stop; I’ve been on the phone a lot and I’ve had a lot of people wishing me and OJ luck. As a pair, we are here to help the club as much as we possibly we can and if that means helping with manager recommendations that we believe would work best with this group, then I’d be willing to help and put my point of view forward. I want to bring the confidence and belief back to this group starting this Saturday against Matlock.”

Regarding playing this weekend, with his role as a defender still on the table at Avenue, Havern confirmed that he won’t be available for the two fixtures against Matlock on Saturday and Marine on Monday.

He said: “The timing of this (taking over as caretaker manager) is actually okay for me currently because I’ve just had a little niggle in my hamstring, so I won’t be available this weekend, but I’ll be back training next week. It’s good for me in a way because it’s allowed me to focus on getting the team as ready as possible for the two games.”

Havern added: “We do need bodies through the door, and I’ve spoken to the board about who we might be able to bring in. We have the funds because of George’s (Skyes-Kenworthy to York City) sale, but we won’t rush into it. It must be the right player.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: George Sykes-Kenworthy has been a key player at Avenue for nearly two years, but he has now landed a deserved move up the divisionsGeorge Sykes-Kenworthy has been a key player at Avenue for nearly two years, but he has now landed a deserved move up the divisions (Image: John Rhodes)

Discussing whether he’d be interested in taking the job permanently, Havern said: “Being totally honest, my initial conversation with Martin Knight  (Director of Football) was that I’d help as the interim boss and that we’d chat again after the week of training we’ve just had and the two games over the weekend. I think the board need to work out who it is or what it is they want to bring in, and I think that work is going on behind the scenes. So, we’ll review things after Monday’s game, see where we are at and go from there.”