Bower seeing positive improvement from Avenue

National North 

Bradford (Park Avenue) manager Mark Bower

Mark Bower feels Bradford (Park Avenue) are getting stronger, despite a slump in results.

Avenue hit their purple patch in October but November has been difficult as they have lost three and drawn one of their four league games.

All have close games – similar to their tough start but Bower says Avenue are in a better place than they were during their barren run in August and September.

“In those games early in the season I felt we were hanging on and defending well and just getting done by the odd goal,” Bower told Non League Yorkshire.

“You could say fine margins but I would say the opposition were more dominant and had more control on those (early) games.

“I would say more recently, certainly at Banbury, Chester, Farsley at home (in the Trophy), we have had really good control for large spells in each of those games.

“We just aren’t managing to convert that into enough clear-cut chances and goals.

“We’ve brought Jordan Preston who gives us more quality in the final third and gives us more options.

“Once he gets fitter and stronger hopefully he can make a a big difference for us because I don’t think we are far away. 

“That little extra will make a big difference to our results.

“I think we have some decent options.

“Jordan has not played much football and that was his first start on Tuesday.

“He’ll certainly get better and stronger over the next few weeks.

“He should make a big difference for us.

“We have to be better across the pitch in terms of scoring goals.

“We have to score more from set-pieces, different areas.

“You want your strikers scoring goals and there’s pressure on them to do that but we have not quite got it right.

“Tuesday night (against Banbury) in those positions in the final third we have to produce better quality and be more creative.

“Getting in front in games is massive and we have shown we are tight and resolute defensively. If we get in front in games we give ourselves a great chance of getting a result.”

The overall performance in the late defeat at Banbury United pleased Bower.

“Unfortunately just at the end we had a lack of concentration which allowed them to score quite a fortuitous goal with the way it bobbled around our penalty area,” he said.

“There was a lot of positives to take from it.

“It was similar to Chester a couple of weeks before when we really matched a team who are around those play-offs places.

“We’re getting punished for tiny mistakes which if we can iron out of our game we won’t be far away.”

Boston United are up next for Avenue in Saturday’s home clash.

That is the first of three games against sides near them in the league, with battles against Buxton and rock bottom AFC Telford United looming.

Bower says it is not six-pointer territory but agrees they need to avoid being cut adrift from teams outside the bottom four.

“It is (a) big (period), more so because we haven’t picked up wins in the last four games,” he said.

“When you have not got as many points as you should have it puts a bit of pressure on you when you’re playing teams in-and-around you.

“(Boston, Buxton and Telford) will be looking at them in the same way as us that it is an opportunity.

“Ultimately it is about getting enough points at the end of the season, it doesn’t matter who they come against.

“We’re a bit behind where we need to be so we need to get back on track.

“Playing teams in-and-around us gives us that chance but the league is evenly matched.

“There’s not much between any side. You have to be on it for every single second.

“If you switch off for a split second like we did at Chester and Banbury, you get done.

“If we cut out our errors, we know we can give anyone a game in the league.

“If we don’t pick up results, we will find ourselves further behind them we need to be. 

“But I don’t think there is anyone who is not capable of going on a run and getting away from the relegation zone. I think everyone is capable of it.

“Saturday is the only focus for us and we’re going to try and win the game.

“Once that is done we’ll look to the following week and try and win that one. That’s the best way to approach it, certainly at this stage of the season.

“Maybe later on in March/April when you’re playing a team who is down there, it becomes a six-pointer but I don’t think it is at this stage of the season.

“I don’t imagine for one second Boston finishing anywhere near the relegation zone because of the size of their club, their resources and the quality players they have got.

“We’ll do our best to beat them.”

Striker Jordan Preston joined on loan from Spennymoor Town last week.

Bower says he wants to improve his squad further but there is a caveat. 

“We’re always on the look-out to find people who can improve us,” he said.

“We’ll look to add more.

“We would have to be creative and move one-or-two on if we were to bring anymore in.

“We have three lads on loan as well and you don’t know how long they will be with us.

“It is difficult. Everyone is after players who score goals so they are not easy to come by.”

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