ADAM LOCKWOOD admits that he would love loanee Alex Purver to return to Guiseley – but acknowledges that the Leeds United midfielder now has a ‘big decision’ to make regarding his future.
Purver’s loan spell at Nethermoor ended on January 2, with the 21-year-old now mulling over his options ahead of taking the next step in his career development.
One option is a return to Guiseley, with Lions boss Lockwood open to bringing him back to the club after a decent loan spell.
But Lockwood believes that Purver must firmly decide to do what is best for himself.
Lockwood, whose side are in FA Trophy second-round action at Nuneaton Town tomorrow, said: “Alex is at an important stage of his career and has done ever so well for us.
“We are looking to move forward and Alex has played a major part for us so far this season and I would like to see him come back. But whether that happens is down to Alex.
“For me, he has got a big decision in his career. He has got a bright future in the game, but it depends what path he sees.
“Anyone connected with Guiseley who has watched us play has seen how far he has come in such a short space of time. He grew into a really good footballer and learned a lot about the game while he was here. We will see. He has got a big decision and has to take his time to think about what direction he wants to go in.
“But there is definitely some interest from ourselves as I am sure there will be from other teams. But we, Alex and his representatives know the situation and ultimately it is down to them in what direction they go.
“Alex has to think about what is best for him at this moment in time. I have tried to give advice, not as a manager but someone who has been in the game a little while and not with bias with Guiseley, to him as a person as he is a lovely lad and I want to see him do well.”
Lockwood, named manager of the month for December following an outstanding National League run, changes tack to the trophy this afternoon – and is demanding no let-up.
The Lions chief has fond memories of the competition and was a member of Yeovil’s FA Trophy-winning team which beat Stevenage 2-0 in 2002.
And he fully acknowledges that the spin-offs of a good cup run, no matter what the competition, can add to the feel-good factor allied to the importance of continuing momentum following a run of just one defeat in the last eight games – discounting the midweek West Riding County Cup exit at Farsley, when Guiseley fielded a young line-up.
Lockwood added: “All games are important for us and Saturday is no different.
“We have a couple back from suspension and big decisions for Saturday, which is always nice as a manager.
“That is great for us and we want all the lads to try and continue our little run.”
Adam Boyes returns to the fray from suspension for the Lions along with captain Danny Lowe.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver says he was not surprised by Simon Ainge’s stunning four-goal display in last Saturday’s 6-3 victory over Alfreton Town in the National League North.
The central defender was pushed up front as Weaver shuffled his pack and tested out a new formation, and he rewarded his boss with a 36-minute hat-trick.
“I’m not saying that I expected Aingey to get four, but I was very confident that he would get on the scoresheet,” the Town chief said.
“It was a bit of a gamble, but having seen how well he’s been doing as a striker in training, I knew that he would be a threat.
“It was a great result to put six past a good team who were in decent form, and for Simon to score four is incredible.”
Weaver will be looking for more of the same when Town host Yorkshire rivals Bradford Park Avenue tomorrow.
Mark Bower’s Avenue earned an impressive 1-0 victory at Worcester City last week to draw level on points with fourth-from-bottom Gainsborough Trinity.
Elsewhere, ninth-placed FC Halifax Town travel to fifth-placed Tamworth.
In the Evo-Stik League First Division North, second-placed Ossett Town continue their search for their first win of 2017 as they host ninth-placed Colne. Town were held to a draw with Ramsbottom last Saturday and will be looking to bridge the gap on leaders Lancaster City.
Elsewhere, Farsley Celtic striker James Walshaw will be looking to continue his goalscoring form against seventh-placed Clitheroe after his four-goal haul last weekend. The two sides are level on points but Celtic hold four games in hand over their opponents.
Eighth-placed Brighouse Town travel to rock-bottom Burscough knowing a win could send them into sixth. Town managed only point against Bamber Bridge last weekend. Meanwhile, Tadcaster Albion will be looking to carry on their West Riding Cup momentum after thrashing Silsden 4-1 on Tuesday as they host tenth-placed Colwyn Bay.
Nineteenth-placed Ossett Albion face Prescot Cables in an important fixture towards the bottom, with both sides struggling and just four points separating the two.
Second-placed pickering Town will be looking to continue their fine goalscoring form when they travel to Worksop Town in the Premier Division, writes BEN GROOM.
Town have scored nine goals in a week and know a win will reduce the gap on leaders Cleethorpes Town to six points.
Elsewhere, seventh-placed Liversedge travel to Armthorpe Welfare looking to stop the rot after a run of three games without a win.
Garforth Town host Yorkshire rivals Hemsworth Miners Welfare with Mark Simpson fresh from his hat-trick in their 5-1 demolition of Maltby Main.
Welfare will be looking for a reaction after being held to a 1-1 home draw with Parkgate.
Harrogate Railway can close the gap on opponents AFC Mansfield to three points with a win after a 4-3 loss in last week’s thriller with Athersley.
In Divsion One, leaders AFC Emley travel to Teversal looking to extend their lead at the top.
Fifth-placed Pontefract Colleries host Ollerton Town looking for a win that could see them climb to second.
Elsewhere, Knaresborough Town travel to league strugglers Worsborough Bridge, while Selby Town visit seventh-placed Campion with both sides looking to put pressure on the top six.
Glasshoughton Welfare play at Rossington Main knowing a win could help them climb into the top ten. Meanwhile, mid-table Yorkshire Amateur host Shirebrook Town.