Bradford Park Avenue manager Mark Bower says he wanted a reaction from his side after last week’s disappointing defeat at Stalybridge Celtic.
Bower certainly got that, as a Wayne Brooksby hat-trick led Bradford to a 3-1 victory away at fellow strugglers AFC Telford United.
The win opened up a four point gap between Bradford and the bottom three, and the Avenue boss is happy going into Wednesday’s tie with Darlington.
“It can make a big difference at this stage to pick up wins,” Bower said.
“Prior to Saturday, we’d been disappointed with the last three results.
“But now, if we can pick up another couple of results, maybe a win and a draw to give us seven points from a week, we’d be delighted with that.
“We’ve got to just keep chipping away, making that gap between us and the bottom three bigger.
“The gap is the biggest it has been all season, we’re progressing and we’ve got to keep that going.
“After last Tuesday night we wanted a reaction from the players.
“I don’t think anyone expected us to play like we did at Stalybridge but these things can happen.
“You look at Fylde, they went to Salford a couple of weeks ago and got beat 5-0, it’s how you bounce back and the lads performed brilliantly on Saturday.
“They put in a really solid performance, Telford barely had a chance all afternoon and we thoroughly deserved the victory.
“It’s a difficult job we’ve come into. When you’re progressing, you don’t just progress in a straight line, you get ups and downs along the way.
“But we are now four points clear of the bottom three which is the best position we’ve been in all season.
“We’re heading in the right direction but I’m sure there will be a few more setbacks before the end of the season, but as long as we keep picking up wins with performances like Saturday’s, then we’ll be ok.”
Having netted the second at Stalybridge, Brooksby netted a well-taken treble to take his tally to four goals in the space of five days.
“He did well did Wayne,” Bower smiled.
“He looked like he was enjoying himself early on, we got him on the ball a little bit before weathering a little bit of a storm from them.
“But it’s a big pitch at Telford and Wayne enjoys that, as a team you thrive on the space that he can get into.
“He’s probably been a little bit unlucky in his time with us so far, but four goals in a week shows what he’s all about.
“Like a lot of wingers, he’s a confidence player, and he’s playing with a lot of confidence at the minute and long may that continue for us.
“Not only Wayne though, we chose to play Adam Nowakowski in front of the back four and he did a big job for us stopping the ball getting to their strikers, and Emile Sinclair came in up front.
“He was vital to us at the weekend, when Telford put pressure on us Emile was our outlet, getting us up the pitch and playing in their half.
“It was a big performance from Emile I thought he was outstanding for us, probably another one who thrived on the space from the pitch and the room he had to get in behind.
“The game plan worked a treat and we got what we deserved.”
Having leaked four goals in defeat to Stalybridge, the Avenue back line looked a lot more sure as Telford were limited to a penalty as their only real chance of the afternoon.
“The Stalybridge game was a different type of task for our defence,” Bower explained.
“We came up against something rare in this league, small lads who had pace and got in behind us and caused us problems that way.
“I knew on Saturday that we had the armour to deal with what we came up against and the lads defended really well.
“I thought Hibbsy (Jake Hibbs) especially did excellently for us, coming in at right back.
“He showed brilliant energy to get up and down the pitch and still be going in the 90th minute despite not having played much football recently.
“And Hilly (Matt Hill) as well, doing an 80-yard run tracking back in the 93rd minute, everyone defended superbly and it was a great team performance.”
Hibbs came in at right back for the previously ever-present Ryan Toulson, and the manager explained his decision.
“We had to make some changes after Tuesday night,” Bower stated.
“To be honest, if we had another 11 players we’d probably have changed all of them.
“We just felt it was the right thing to do on Saturday, we’ve had a lot of games in a short space of time which we’ve not been used to, so we just freshened the side up a little bit.
“Tully is a player that I’ve had for a while and I know that I’ll get a good reaction from him.
“I’ve been there myself where sometimes a game or two out of the side will do you a world of good and I’m sure Tully will come back in before long, show his qualities and have a positive impact on the team.”
Despite his high spirits, Bower was tight-lipped over how he would line up at Blackwell Meadows on Wednesday night.
“We set up on Saturday to combat Telford’s threats,” the Bradford manager said.
“Whether that will work the same at Darlington we shall see.
“Me and Danny will look through the reports on Darlington and what we’ve seen on them and decide what to do from there.
“We’ve got to make sure everyone is ok injury wise and we look forward to the game.”