Bower: We're Playing With Confidence

Bradford Park Avenue manager Mark Bower says he is impressed with the confidence levels running through his side, after they picked up their eighth successive game unbeaten at Southport on Saturday.

Goals from Adam Boyes, Oli Johnson and Javan Vidal saw Avenue progress in the Emirates FA Cup, and the Bradford boss was impressed with what he saw.

“That’s a really good win for us,” Bower said.

“We took two good chances early on, I thought they were two really good goals, and then just controlled the game.

“To be honest, I went to watch them against Harrogate last week, and I came away from the ground thinking we should go there and win.

“I told the lads that, it was important we started well as their confidence is really fragile, and we were very efficient in what we did.

“We were very professional, we saw the game out really well and if we’re being critical then we probably should have scored a couple more to make it a bit more comfortable.

“But, if you had offered us a 3-0 win when the draw came out we would have snapped your hands off.

“All that matters now is that we are in the next round and we have carried on our run.”

Victory at Southport was the fifth win of the eight-game unbeaten streak, and Bower said the confidence running through the squad is playing a huge part in that.

“We’ve just got to try and keep it going as long as possible,” he said.

“I know it’s a boring old football cliche but we are just taking each game as it comes and trying to beat what’s in front of us.

“We’ve finally got a week with no midweek game so we can work on a few of the lads coming back to fitness and then we look forward to next weekend away at Leamington.

“It’s good when you can see out on the pitch that the lads are playing with confidence.

“We’re moving the ball about well, the lads are backing themselves, taking people on and it’s paying off, things are working for us, we’re creating chances and looking really dangerous.

“We’re scoring goals from all areas, people are starting to trust each other, the strikers trust the defenders to keep teams out and vice versa with the defenders knowing that if they keep a clean sheet, one of the strikers has it in them to pop up with the winning goal.

“Even with the defending though, the lads know that if it’s a long clearance into a decent area, Adam Boyes is going to chase it and get on the end of things to get us up the pitch and relieve that pressure.

“We re-jigged it a bit at the weekend, bringing Adam Nowakowski in and it’s good to see different players coming in and doing a good job for the team and long may that continue.”

Goalkeeper Steven Drench and midfielder Danny Boshell returned from injury to take to the field at Southport, while Luca Havern was an unused substitute as Avenue’s injury problems begin to ease.

“We’ve got a few coming back now which is good to see,” the Bradford manager said.

“We had Drenchy and Danny Bosh back and then Luca on the bench, obviously Knowelsy and Rossy have been playing well at the back so there was no need for a change there.

“Nicky Clee was ill so didn’t travel, but that highlights the quality in the squad when Adam Nowakowski comes in and does a good job for us.

“Jamie Spencer too came on and did well and then Bosh coming on to try and keep us in control of the game.

“It’s working well at the minute but we will have our spells where things will go against us and that means it is important to pick up results now.”

Following on from the great win at Southport, Avenue have been handed an even tougher tie in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup, with a trip to Harrogate Town on Saturday 30 September.

“It is what it is,” Bower said.

“This was a great draw for us whoever we got, because we made it through, now we will go there prepared and try and get through again.

“That first round is the goal for every team at this level and now we are a step closer to it but obviously it’s not going to be easy.

“We’re doing alright away from home, maybe it suits us a little bit more with the players we have got in the squad.

“But having said that we’re four unbeaten at home as well so it was never about being drawn home or away.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve shown the aspects to our game and the strengths that we’ve got to show that we can go and beat anyone, and we’re not afraid of anyone.”

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