Hard work can keep the Lions up insists Hatfield

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AFTER a 550-mile round trip to Dover yielded no weekend away reward again for Guiseley, many might venture that an 180-mile journey to Barrow and back on a cold November evening would not be greeted with too much enthusiasm.

But Will Hatfield begs to differ and is adamant that he and his team-mates are grateful for a quick-fire chance to atone for another point-less return on their travels when they take the field at Holker Street tonight.

While the reign of Adam Lockwood has provided the Lions with a semblance of hope in their National League survival quest, a glaring area of improvement remains.

Namely Guiseley securing their first away win of the campaign – and you have to go back to February 13 for their last league success on their travels – a 1-0 triumph at Woking.

Tonight’s game against the Bluebirds could not be anymore daunting, with the Cumbrian outfit heading into the game on the back of a history-making feat.

Paul Cox’s high-flying side extended their unbeaten streak at this level to an outstanding 15 matches, eclipsing Barrow’s run at the start of the 1984-85 season. But Hatfield is remaining steadfastly positive as the Lions seek to record their own pertinent statistic – a maiden away league win of 2016-17.

He said: “We had a conversation after the (Dover) game about that and cannot put our finger on why we have not won away yet.

“But we will keep positive and on the front foot and on a good tempo and hopefully that can get us going and get us an early goal.

“Dover was a tough game and we always knew it was going to be.

“In the first half, we matched them and were in the game. But unfortunately, we came out in the second half and conceded two soft goals and were on the back foot and found it hard to get going again. Overall, it was disappointing.

“It was another game gone and we need to get going now and get ourselves right for Tuesday.

“We want to get a reaction and the sooner we can get out on the pitch, the better and we will be going for the win at Barrow, with no excuses.”

Guiseley may have paid the price for switching off at the back at the weekend on a couple of occasions, but by and large, improvement in the team’s organisation and shape has been a strong theme of their mini-upturn under Lockwood, a sturdy defender in his playing days.

But Hatfield believes that standards must be kept in that regard if the Lions are to achieve their Great Escape mission, with Saturday handing them a lesson.

He said: “As we showed on Saturday, there is a lot of work to go and unfortunately we are at the bottom of the table.

“We need to maintain the high standards the manager has set and not dwell on games as we don’t have time to dwell any more.

“We have to pick ourselves up and go again and we will do.

“Adam has come in and worked hard on trying to keep a clean sheet and us getting a good shape about us so we can build on that and it has worked very well.

“We have looked more solid and hopefully we can keep plugging away and working together and we will be okay.”

Alex Purver: On the fitness trail.

Guiseley v Dover: Let’s step it up says Paul Cox