Category: Interviews

Knowles To Remain At Horsfall

Avenue stalwart James Knowles has agreed to stay at the Horsfall Stadium for the 2017-18 campaign.

Currently in his third spell at the club, centre back Knowles sits fifth in the all-time appearances chart for the reformed club.

The popular defender featured 26 times after rejoining Avenue midway through last season, leaving him on 217 appearances in total.

Knowles was a key figure in a defensive line which sured up hugely as Mark Bower’s men somehow avoided relegation, and he even chipped in with two goals including a memorable 95th minute winner away at Stockport County.

“Knowlesy played a big part in last year’s survival, so we’re pleased that he has agreed to stay at the club for another season,” manager Bower said.

“He is a good defender and his quality on the ball fits in with the style of football that we want to play.

“We feel his attributes compliment the squad well and we are confident that he can further enhance his legendary status at the club with another good season.”

Knowles returned to Avenue last October, joining from Farsley Celtic where he had been playing under his former boss at Bradford, John Deacey.

He rejoined the club two years after leaving for the second time, joining ex-Avenue teammate Tom Greaves at FC United of Manchester.

The strong defender originally left Bradford in March 2013 to join Conference side FC Halifax Town, but rejoined the club just a few months later.

Knowles, who goes into the season on 217 appearances for the club, could be expected to climb to third in the all-time list with Neil Grayston and Richard Marshall just ahead of him on 228 and 224 appearances respectively.

Don’t miss a single minute of Knowles’ action this season with your Bradford Park Avenue league Season Ticket.

Adult Season Tickets are this year priced at just £125, and include one FREE under-18 Season Ticket.

Concessions (Over 60) can purchase a Season Ticket for £99, while students, apprentices and under-18s can pick up a 2017-18 league Season Ticket for just £20.

To find out more, and to buy yours, please click here.

Hill Agrees Avenue Stay

Avenue defender Matt Hill has agreed to remain at the club both in his role as a player and as Academy coach.

The former Bristol City, Preston North End and Sheffield United defender made 41 appearances in all competitions last season, having joined in the summer from Tranmere Rovers.

Hill, 36,  proved a key figure in Avenue’s astonishing escape from relegation, scoring two memorable last-gasp winning goals at the Horsfall Stadium against Brackley and Altrincham.

“We’re pleased that Matt Hill has agreed to stay and continue in his roles as both a player and Academy coach at the club,” manager Mark Bower said.

“We were delighted with his contribution both on and off the pitch last season and we are confident that he will again be a real asset to the club in both roles.

“Having played at the highest level, Hilly sets a great example to all the players at the club with his professional attitude and winning mentality and he is looking forward to a successful season for both the first team and Academy.”

A glistening career has seen Hill make 452 appearances in the Football League, including two in the Premier League for Wolves in 2009.

The defender started his career at hometown club Bristol City, where he made his debut aged 17 in 1998.

He went on to establish himself as a regular at Ashton Gate, making 246 appearances in all competitions and spending three years playing alongside Avenue’s Academy head coach Alex Meechan.

Preston North End paid £100,000 for Hill’s services in 2005 ,taking him into the Championship for the first time.

In five years at Deepdale, Hill made 119 appearances before commanding another transfer fee as he was signed by Mick McCarthy’s Wolves.

He played 14 times as they gained promotion to the Premier League and lifted the Championship trophy.

Having made two appearances in the top flight, Hill spent the second half of the season on loan at QPR, before joining Barnsley at the end of the campaign.

A year at Oakwell was followed by a year at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, before Hill joined Sheffield United, where he made 95 appearances in three seasons ahead of his move to Tranmere in 2014.

Make sure you don’t miss a single match all season by grabbing a bargain and buying your 2017-18 league Season Ticket

Adult Season Tickets are this year priced at just £125, and include one FREE under-18 Season Ticket.

Concessions (Over 60) can purchase a Season Ticket for £99, while students, apprentices and under-18s can pick up a 2017-18 league Season Ticket for just £20.

To find out more, and to buy yours, please click here.

Drury Talks Transfers

Following the recent loss of influential midfielder Jack Rea as well as versatile Dan Clayton, the club finally announced some good news this lunchtime with the signing of Simon Ainge from FC Halifax Town.

The addition of Ainge greatly bolsters the defensive options, which is understandably very satisfying for Avenue’s Martin Drury.

“We’re very pleased to finally get Simon on board from FC Halifax Town.

“We believe he will be a good asset to the squad now and with what we are trying to build for the future of the club.

“He comes with a wealth of experience at conference level and his achievements speak for themselves so to get a player of his quality is a big positive for us.

“Simon’s been honest and has said himself he wants to be fitter having not played as much football as he would have liked this season at Halifax so he now has to work hard personally.

“Along with playing regular football for us and a programme in training to speed this up I’m sure he will be in great condition very soon.

“It’s been a difficult task to get things done and the backing we’ve received from the board at Bradford has been absolutely fantastic so for this we are very grateful.

“Thanks also need to go to Halifax town. Both manager Neil Aspin and chairman Dave Bosomworth have been a pleasure to deal with and have done things professionally throughout the process.”

Speaking after the loss of Jack Rea, Drury said “We are very disappointed to lose Jack. He is a very good footballer and great lad off the field.

“His attitude has been superb and he has performed consistently well for us over the last couple of months.

“Unfortunately the opportunity to play at a higher level and at a club closer to home for him made it too difficult for us to keep him at Bradford, despite our efforts.”

Drury also confirmed that the club aren’t only looking at outgoings, with another signing on the way.

“We’re in advanced talks with another player from the league above of which we hope to announce the arrival of this week so things are starting to look promising for the future of Bradford Park Avenue.

“With our last two fixtures postponed and a tough month ahead we are all looking forward to getting going again on Sunday.”

Colbeck: Up There With The Best We've Played

Despite the loss at Brackley, a number of the Avenue line-up left the field with positive reviews- none more so than winger Joe Colbeck. After the match, he spoke to Avenue press officer Joe Cockburn.

“Well it’s disappointing really, especially since we were the better side on the ball, I thought we created a lot of chances, we should have scored a few.

“Disappointed that the keeper saved mine off the line (pictured). I’ve hit it too clean I think, if I just shank it or do anything but what I did it goes in. I think I’ve just concentrated on hitting it clean and the keeper’s managed to save it.

“But, all in all, I thought it was up there with the best we’ve played all season and we’ve not got a result, which I think hurts more- when you play so well and you just don’t get the right result, yeah, it’s going to be a long journey home.”

Colbeck’s recent performances have certainly improved, so I asked him what it is that has made him step his game up of late.

“I think it’s because I’m playing more regularly, at the start of the season I was in and out, I couldn’t really get a run of games, but now I seem to be playing week in week out, and that’s all I want to do.

“I’m playing for the next week’s shirt to be honest, every time I play I’ve realised that, although I might have stepped down from the Conference, I maybe thought at the beginning of the season that I should start week in week out and that isn’t the case.

“Everyone’s got to work for the shirt, and that’s what I’ve found and that’s all I’m trying to do- train hard, and play for next week’s shirt.”

Colbeck’s goal in the Brackley match took a deflection on it’s way through, so I joked with him over whether it was in fact his or not.

“Yeah it was mine! It’s deflected a little off the defender’s studs but yeah I’m definitely having that one!”

Drury: We're Bitterly Disappointed

Bradford (Park Avenue) were extremely unfortunate to come away with nothing from the game at Brackley on Saturday, and an understandably downbeat Martin Drury echoed that.

“We’re bitterly disappointed to be honest.

“I can’t fault the lads’ workrate, everyone worked their nuts off, some of the build up play was good, we moved the ball very well.

“But we can’t keep missing chances- which we’ve not had a massive problem with but today we did, and obviously at the other end, every time we seem to attack, we look vulnerable defensively.

“I think we’re all that keen to go forward and go and score goals that little lapses in concentration, people switching off at the back, not getting close enough to people, not knowing where they are when we’re attacking and it’s cost us here.

“But no I can’t fault the lads, the lads have worked really hard and like I said, there was some good football played by us today, it’s just disappointing to have the ball for so long in a football match and not go and get something out of the game.”

Deacey: We Were Excellent

Bradford (Park Avenue) manager John Deacey was in a positive mood despite losing 2-1 at fellow strugglers Brackley Town, but once again was left bemoaning a defensive mishap which scuppered any chance of Avenue taking any points from the game.

“I thought the performance was positive, I thought we attacked superbly.

“But when I made a decision to go to 3 (at the back), there wasn’t a defender within 15 yards of the number 10, and you cannot defend like that.

“But, apart from that- chance wise, possession wise, football wise- we were excellent. There was only one team in it all the game, but you’ve got to take the chances.”

Should Avenue have taken their chances, the game could quite easily have been won by 3 or 4 goals, but the visitors just couldn’t seem to hit the back of the net at St. James’ Park.

“There’s no underlying problem, the keeper’s pulled off a great save from Joe Colbeck, Chib (Chilaka) should have scored, but I thought some of the football we played was great.”

Fernando Moke, signed recently from Droylsden, made his debut alongside Jack Rea in the middle of midfield and looked impressive as the two of them controlled the game throughout.

“I thought Moke was excellent today, actually, there were loads of players that were positive.

“There are so many positives to take from today it’s unbelievable, but, well we should have won the game. But that’s football.”

Colley: We Were Unlucky

Lamin Colley is still yet to start a game at Avenue but looked sharp in Saturday’s trip to Colwyn Bay, where he replaced Paul Walker after 63 minutes. After the game, he spoke to media assistant Jess Softley.

“We did well today, we were a bit unlucky at the end, we could have got a few goals. I felt we could have won the game in the end, we had some really good chances and we were just unlucky not to get the win.

“I’m settling in nicely at the club, we have some really nice lads and we get on well, so I’m enjoying it here.

“The club’s name brought me here and it was a good chance for me to come up and prove myself and improve on my game.

“I want to make sure I play well week in week out and obviously if I can get some goals in there then that would be an extra bonus for me. This season I’m just looking to settle in and hopefully improve my game.

“I just have to keep going and keep my head up and keep pushing. A goal will come I’m certain of that.”

This Saturday Avenue face Solihull Moors at the Horsfall, and due to the international break will be offering £5 entry to season ticket holders of ANY other football club. It is also free entry for under 16s. Please come down and support the boys and build a bumper crowd! For more details click here.

Davis Joins Avenue

Bradford (Park Avenue) have swooped to sign Garforth Town’s Jay Davis.

Davis joins after impressing Avenue manager John Deacey in a friendly with HT Sports- a game which saw Davis score twice.

After watching the 4-2 to loss to Tamworth at the Horsfall Stadium on Saturday, Davis spoke to Press Officer Joe Cockburn about his move to the Conference North club.

“It was my first season at Garforth, I’d only been there a few months. Before that I was playing at Bardsey at not too high a level but it’s a good level to play at, I had a season there and decided to try get as high as I can really, so went to Garforth, then I played in a friendly against Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday night a few weeks back, and it’s come from there really.”

“When I was really young like 11 years old I was at Leeds United and places like that, I played in the Man City shadow squad for a little bit until I got injured and from there just playing local.”

An attacking minded player, Davis has scored 5 goals in 13 appearances for Garforth this season.

“Erm, I play anywhere forward really but left winger mostly, but I’m right footed, like a shot to be fair. I’ve scored a few, a fair few, I like to help out with goals and stuff, and I scored two in that friendly (against Avenue) so I suppose that wasn’t too bad.”

“It’s a good set up, a good bunch of lads, good team. They seem together, they work together as a team and I like the set up, it’s organised, and they’ve got a good coaching staff and manager and everything. They’re passionate about it which is great.”

When asked what he feels he can bring to the table, Davis said:

“Hopefully I can bring a few more goals and a few more wins really, try my best for the team, defensively and attacking and hopefully we can climb the table, that’s what we intend to do.”

Davis is cup tied for this Tuesday’s County Cup tie away at Goole but is looking at possibly making his debut in next Saturday’s trip to Colwyn Bay in the Vanarama Conference North.

Deacey: We Lost The Game In The First Half

Bradford (Park Avenue) Manager John Deacey was not happy with the defence in the first half of today’s game, claiming that there was no coming back after that showing.

“We’ve lost the game in the first half. You can’t defend like that and expect to win any game.”

“I thought we took the game to them completely in the second half. If we’d have got another, maybe it wouldn’t have been unjust but defending like that you lose it in the first half. There was no coming back from that.”

Visiting goalkeeper James Belshaw made some top saves to keep Avenue at bay during the second half. Deacey acknowledged this after the game but still thought Avenue made their own luck.

“Their keeper has made three great saves you know. We made the changes and they worked but defending was ridiculous, absolutely shameful- two centre backs bumping into each other, not picking up people- just garbage.”

“That’s all I can say about our defending today- just absolutely rubbish. You give yourself a mountain to climb but they tried to climb it. They worked so hard and there were some encouraging signs from some players.”

Deacey made his first substitution at half time, replacing Billy Priestley with Grant Black, and he singled Black out after the match.

“I thought Blacky when he came on was superb at right back. I thought he did fantastic and showed a great attitude.”

“Also Chib I thought was decent all game and second half Jordan (Deacey) started influencing the game but it was too late- we lost it 4-1 at half time and like I said, I can’t stress enough how if you defend like that you are going to get beat every single week so we have to go and work, and hope that players like Lever and Turner get back as quick as possible because we certainly need to bolster the defence from somewhere.”

Deacey also confirmed there were no fresh injury concerns heading into Tuesday’s County Cup tie at Goole.

Deacey Disappointed With Defeat

Following the 5-0 defeat to Oxford City, Bradford (Park Avenue) manager John Deacey was upset at the performance and result at the Horsfall Stadium:

“We were outclassed in every department. From one to eleven they were sharper than us across the pitch. We never got going, but credit to Oxford City because they are a good side.

It hurts but I won’t give up.”