Match Preview: Chester vs. Bradford (Park Avenue)

Bradford (Park Avenue) were at risk of standing still alongside the top two tiers of English football during the international break, but Chester’s stadium issues have been resolved ahead of today’s fixture.

The Swansway Chester Stadium suffered significant damage following a heavy downpour and the Blues haven’t played at their home since the opening day of the season.

They made a commendable start to the season as they held Spennymoor Town to a goalless draw and swept Curzon Ashton aside, but have experienced little in the way of joy on the road since their win at the Tameside Stadium.

A trip to Blyth Spartans ended in humiliation and they failed to bounce back with win when they faced AFC Telford United, who claimed a 3-1 victory at New Bucks Head. A respectable point was salvaged against Guiseley on their last outing, but they face a Yorkshire side that have suffered just one defeat in their opening eight games this afternoon.

Mark Bower will have been frustrated to see his side held by F.C United of Manchester last week but will be encouraged by the character shown by Bradford already this season. A bitterly disappointing defeat to Leamington earlier in the campaign was followed by an impressive win over Spennymoor Town and the Bradford boss will be looking for a similar response after last week’s blow.

Speaking to Lewis Sale after the draw at Broadhurst Park, Bower was confident that his side can provide Chester with a stern test: “We made some bad decisions (against F.C United) and there are lessons to be learnt. We were the better team and that’s what makes it harder to take. We will improve next week at Chester. If we do what we’ve done for the majority of the season then we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

Bradford were boosted by the returns of Danny Lowe and Ben McKenna from injury last week and both will be looking to make appearances at the Swansway Chester Stadium.

GUIDE TO THE OPPONENTS: 

The Gaffers:

Bernard Morley & Anthony Johnson

The management duo of Morley and Johnson delivered two promotions in six years at Ramsbottom United before moving to Salford City, where they guided the club to three promotions and helped the Ammies achieve National League status in 2018. They were appointed joint-managers of Chester in May 2018, with the club swooping to tie the pair down to two-year deals after relegation from non-league football’s top tier was confirmed.

One To Watch:

Anthony Dudley

Dudley made himself known to Bradford supporters back in February 2018, netting a brace for Salford City in a 2-2 draw with Avenue at the Peninsula Stadium. The 21-year-old forward worked under Mark Bower during two loan spells with Guiseley, who he joined on a temporary basis from Bury after ascending the Shakers’ youth ranks. He also spent time with Macclesfield Town on loan before leaving Bury to join Salford City. Despite proving a handful for several defences in the National League North last season, he was allowed to leave after promotion was secured and joined Chester on a season-long loan. He was reunited with former bosses Morley and Johnson alongside fellow Salford defender Danny Livesey, who will be hoping for a recall this afternoon after being left out of the squad that drew with Guiseley last week.

 

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