BRADFORD Park Avenue manager Mark Bower has described it as "quite humbling" that fans have raised almost £10,000.

With the Horsfall Stadium club, who have the second-smallest average home attendance in the division, beating the odds by being in fifth place ahead of today's Vanarama National League North match at home to Spennymoor Town, the money will be added to the player budget.

"It is quite humbling," said Bower. "Some of the money has come from people who can't get to games and/or who have a long-term affinity for the club.

"Two or three clubs in our division have been desperate to sign players and have spent money willy-nilly, but I won't waste a penny of our money and will only bring in players if they can add to our squad.

"They will have to be good players to get into our squad and we have quite a settled team, but there is no point bringing people in who then aren't going to play.

"If we can build on what we already have then there is no reason why we can't have a very successful season."

Apart from fans having to raise money to help the club compete, another indicator that Avenue are one of the small guys is their average home attendance.

Of the 22 clubs in Vanarama National League North, only North Ferriby United (356) have a smaller average home attendance than Avenue (479), and ten clubs average over 1,000, led by former Football League clubs Stockport County (3.243) and York City (2.767).

Harrogate Town are seventh with 1,157, and Bower said: "The presence of Stockport County, York City, FC United, Salford City and Darlington and their big crowds are what makes this division so exciting."

Vanarama National League North average home attendances so far this season: Stockport County 3,243; York City 2,767; FC United of Manchester 1,967; Salford City 1,765; Kidderminster Harriers 1,559; Darlington 1,509; Harrogate Town 1,157; AFC Telford United 1,133; Chorley 1,125; Boston United 1,050; Southport 971; Blyth Spartans 921; Spennymoor Town 919; Tamworth 775; Gainsborough Trinity 650; Nuneaton Town 650; Leamington 638; Alfreton Town 564; Brackley Town 501; Curzon Ashton 495; Bradford Park Avenue 479; North Ferriby United 356.

*information courtesy of Football Web

Jose Mourinho, Alan Pardew and Pep Guardiola have been vociferous in their complaints about the Barclays Premier League fixture schedule over the past three weeks, but Bower isn't about to join them.

He said: "We have been quite lucky in that we played on December 23, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, but didn't have a match scheduled for December 30.

"Anyway it would probably have been off had we had – and I haven't got enough players to rotate anyway!"

* Any Avenue fans wishing to donate should e-mail Dave Stordy ( or telephone 01274-512989 with your offer and Dave will contact you to make the arrangements.

The club will also have a bucket in the club shop at home games.