Bower's Avenue Just Loving Their 'Bonus' Play-Off Ride!

Mark Bower says Bradford Park Avenue can go into Sunday’s play-off semi-final at Brackley Town with no pressure on their shoulders.

Avenue shocked Kidderminster Harriers on Wednesday night, winning 2-0 at Aggborough after securing their play-off place on the final day of the season at the same ground.

It’s now six wins in a row for Bower’s side - a run that propelled them into the play-off places after it looked like their promotion hopes had been dashed.

They’ll head into Sunday’s National League North semi-final with plenty of confidence and Bower says the play-offs have been a very welcome bonus!

He said: “There is no pressure on us. I don’t think anybody inside or outside the club expected us to be in this position three weeks ago!

“All the other teams in the play-offs were probably targeting promotion at the start of the season but nobody really thought that was possible for us. We’re just enjoying playing in these big matches - we thrive on it.

“It was a fantastic night for us. You know when you play Kidderminster that you’re going to have to defend a lot and spend a lot of time without the ball.

“When you do get it, you need to be effective and we managed to get that early goal that gave us a platform.

“I’m so proud of the players. For a part-time team to come to a place like this, a full-time club, after the shift we put in on Saturday, it was a superb result.”

Bower also quickly dismissed any talk of over-celebrating with Sunday’s semi-final just days away.

“Three or four of the lads in the dressing room were saying that they’ve got work at 6 o’clock in the morning!” Bower laughed.

“We’ll get the lads in on Saturday morning and prepare for Brackley on Sunday. It’ll be so tough, they’re a very good, strong side. They finished third, they’re in the FA Trophy final - that’s no fluke.

“We’ll go in as underdogs yet again but if we get the same application, effort and work-rate, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Photo by John Rhodes

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