Guiseley’s young guns will have seniors in their sights

Mark Bower.
Mark Bower.
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MARK BOWER has pledged to boost his Guiseley ranks with a youthful edge – as he sets about revamping his squad following last season’s final-day escape from National League relegation.

It promises to be a hectic summer for the Lions chief, with a host of players out of contract and eight players having already been released.

Ben Parker, Ryan Toulson, Gavin Rothery, Danny Hall, Liam Dickinson, Nicky Boshell, Oliver Norburn and James Hurst have left Nethermoor, while Will Hatfield, Luke Porritt, Steven Drench, Adam Smith and Rob Atkinson are discussing terms.

Good news has seen last season’s top-scorer Adam Boyes, influential defender Danny Lowe, Oli Johnson and Dan Atkinson sign on for the 2016-17 campaign.

Meanwhile, assistant manager Danny Boshell, physio Martin Stringfellow and goalkeeping coach Steve Dickinson have all penned fresh terms for the coming season.

Alongside getting several as yet uncommitted players to re-sign, Bower is now focusing on bringing in some young blood.

Bower said: “We have a similar sort of player in the squad and we want to get the average age of the squad down a bit and get a few younger ones in to put pressure on senior players.

“We will have to see what happens and I am sure some of our players will be attracting interest from elsewhere too and it is a case of seeing who wants to stay.

“It is a long summer and the work started weeks ago and after securing survival, we can crack on with it full steam.”

Bower admits that he and the club have learned numerous lessons from a campaign which saw Guiseley flirt with relegation and just manage to retain their divisional status following a dramatic final-day 4-3 victory over Torquay United – combined with Yorkshire neighbours FC Halifax Town’s draw with Macclesfield.

The loss of the Shaymen from a derby perspective has been assuaged by the arrival of York City back in the National League, while the Lions’ old rivals North Ferriby United will represent another familiar face.

Guiseley will retain their part-time status and continue to operate against a number of full-time outfits, with recruitment not straightforward according to Bower.

Neither have been logistics and also fitting in regular training, although a few valuable lessons have been learned along the way according to the Lions manager.

He added: “There’s one or two things we will change to put us in a better position next year.

“We will deal with it differently in terms of the number of bodies we are going to carry in our squad and there was dealing with the transfer window for the first time.

“Plenty of lads come out of full-time into part-time football and it is a case of making sure they are set up for it and then there’s the logistics of travelling to away games on a Friday and not travelling on the day.

“We have got to make sure we are well equipped to go through the season as 46 games in a short space of time is tough, especially at the start when you seem to be playing Saturday-Tuesday for weeks – and add to that, the travelling and part-time aspect.”

Guiseley will host Huddersfield Town in a friendly on July 6 and visit Hyde on July 19, Stalybridge Celtic on July 26 and Curzon Ashton on July 30.

Lee Molyneux

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