Bradford Park Avenue v North Ferriby United
National League North
Saturday 24 February 2018
Ferriby travel to Bradford on Saturday for what will be a testing game against promotion-chasing Bradford Park Avenue. The reverse fixture at The Eon Visual Media Stadium in mid-November saw Avenue gain a slender 1-0 win. The Villagers have a much-changed squad since that game with just three players likely to be in Saturday’s 16.
Bradford are in eighth place in the Vanarama National League table. A play-off spot may end up eluding them as some of the teams above and below have games –in-hand. They will obviously be looking for a win on Saturday to maintain a play-off challenge.
Bradford will go in to the game full of confidence after a midweek draw at Salford City. It took a 90th minute equaliser for Salford to claim appoint after being two goals down. Bradford have a mixed home record with six wins, six defeats and seven draws, scoring 27 goals and conceding 21.
Saturday’s home defeat to Southport was a disappointment for Ferriby but they could have no complaints about the result. All three goals could have been better defended. Even so, the side is making far fewer mistakes in defence but is getting punished for those they do make.
As manager Chris Bolder commented after the game,
“We were under pressure for the first 10 minutes but we weathered that well and came into it and exerted pressure of our own. It was disappointing to concede two quick goals, especially as they both could have been defended better. I thought that if we could have gone in just one down at half-time it would have been good and would set us up for the second-half. They went for the jugular after the penalty and upped the tempo.”
Looking towards Saturday’s game Bolder comments,
"It's another tough challenge for the lads as we face another team chasing promotion. We are continuing to work hard in training and are really focusing on the basics this week as we felt we conceded soft goals last weekend. We showed that we are more than capable of matching teams for periods of a game but we must increase the duration of this if we are to get a result.
“The mood in the camp is actually positive. We have a group of players who are all pulling in the same direction and acknowledge the challenges we face. They are all determined to gain a positive result and develop their own games.
“This weekend will see us have to change things again, some new players will come in and some players will miss out again. We have signed a couple who I'm sure will get some time on the pitch and show the qualities they could bring."
With Ferriby’s fate almost sealed, Bolder’s team is playing for pride and for creating a squad that can be competitive next season. The side is playing with more confidence and Bolder has his team trying to play attractive football. They are making the opposition work hard. The major issue is the lack of experience that many of the players have at the higher levels of the non-league game. Many of the squad are around the 20-years old mark. Added to this is the fact that the squad has been almost completely re-built by Bolder and owner Jamie Waltham. It takes time for so many players to become used to each other, to recognise each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Certainly. Playing half a season at National League North level will be a massive experience for most of the squad.
Bolder faces selection problems. Paul Robson sits-out the second of a four game suspension. Alex Davidson is recovering from a hip injury, Jordan Deacey, who would relish the opportunity to play against a former club, is recovering from a hamstring issue and Brett Agnew has a knee injury. Jamie Forester has an ongoing problem. The new players referred to by Bolder are James Nicholls, who came on as a substitute against Southport, and Josh Walker. Both players are strikers. Jorome Slew has left the club. In addition, the club has signed midfielder Lewis Collins on a month-long loan from Mansfield Town, subject to English Football League approval.
Possible Ferriby squad: Ross Durrant, Lewis Exall, Ben Clappison, Jack Walters, Kojo Kyei, Jordon Cooke, Jack Mail, Jamie Taylor, Bobby Johnson, Adam Bolder, Luke Lofts, Lewis Collins, George Harrison, Sam Ansu, Jamie Forrester, Brett Agnew, James Piercey, Jordan Deacey, Josh Walker, James Nicholls