Guiseley manager Adam Lockwood has played down the loss of influential midfielder Simon Walton to suspension ahead of tomorrow’s Vanarama National League clash with ninth-placed Aldershot.
The Nethermoor outfit travel south having leapfrogged North Ferriby and moved off the bottom of the division on Tuesday, on an evening that was soured by a late Gateshead equaliser and a fracas that saw former Leeds United and England under-19 international Walton sent off after the final whistle.
Lockwood admits that losing any player to suspension is tough to take, but that his squad have the requisite depth to make up for his absence.
“We’ve got a strong squad here,” he said, “it’s disappointing to lose Simon, as it is with any player who becomes unavailable, but as you can see with the selections I’ve made since I came in, everyone at the club has a role to play and is expected to play their part.
“When one player is out of the team, it gives someone else the opportunity for others to come in and do a job for us, and that’s what this situation is to be honest.”
The length of Walton’s suspension may be extended by the FA, making the signing of fellow midfielder James Wesolowski, Lockwood’s former Oldham Athletic team-mate, even more important. Whilst he was keen to stress that Wesolowski is unlikely to provide a direct alternative to Walton in tomorrow’s clash, the Guiseley manager stressed how impressed he was with his start at the club.
“James offers different qualities to the squad,” said Lockwood. “He goes about his business quietly but is a very good player and I know he’ll do well here.
“He hasn’t played much football recently and the fact that he managed to get through 90 minutes at the standard that he did on Tuesday was great.”
After a promising start to their league season, Aldershot have faltered of late and are without a win in their last three games, including a 2-1 defeat FA Cup defeat to Conference South strugglers Eastbourne Borough and defeat in the 81st minute at Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday.
“I don’t want us to concentrate too much on what other teams are doing,” added Lockwood. “Every team we come up against has different qualities and we have an idea of what Aldershot will offer.”
Tricky winger Shamir Fenelon looks unlikely to make a return to an otherwise unblemished Aldershot line-up after suffering a twisted knee in their 0-0 draw with Torquay last weekend.
That said, Lockwood is keen to keep his side’s focus in-house: “They’re a good side and we need to respect that and ourselves, and go into the game having prepared right.
“The way I see it, the standards we set ourselves are more important than concentrating too much on the opposition.”
Guiseley make the trip to EBB Stadium with a record of only one point from their eight matches away from Nethermoor Park this season, the worst away record in the league.
Having fought their way from the division’s basement with an upturn in form over recent weeks, Lockwood realises the need to amend this fact as quickly as possible.
“Whether they come home or away, with the position we’re in, it’s important to pick up points everywhere,” he said. “To get a result away from home would give us a big boost.
“There’s no doubt that in every game we can offer a good challenge.
“I believe we can win any game, and the group we have now is extremely capable. Aldershot are a good side, but, as we’ve shown recently, so are we.”
Simon Weaver has urged his Harrogate Town squad to roll their sleeves up and battle through the injury crisis which has sparked a dip in form.
Town slumped to a fourth consecutive defeat on Tuesday night against Kidderminster Harriers and dropped out of the National League North play-off places for the first time since August.
Weaver’s plans have been disrupted by injuries to key players such as midfielder Lloyd Kerry and top scorer JP Pittman. Kerry faces at least another two months on the sidelines while the boss confirmed Pittman would miss tomorrow’s visit of Darlington 1883.
To add to the woes, Ben Parker had an x-ray following Tuesday’s defeat following a turned ankle while Luke Shiels complained about a dead leg.
On the club’s dip in form, Weaver said: “We set off like a train this season but anyone would be hampered by six or seven injuries.
“We have been here before, it’s cost us three promotions in the last seven years. But that’s life.
“There’s things going off with families in my changing room that are a lot worse. But people are getting on and being honest.
“We will roll our sleeves up. As we have always said, we are going to be relentless in our pursuit of getting the club up.
“We might have 15 injuries in two weeks but we will still get on with it.
“That’s my character and the club’s character.”
Fresh from their first victory of the season at Altrincham, Bradford Park Avenue host Stalybridge Celtic while third-placed Halifax Town are at home to Kidderminster.
In the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy, Farsley Celtic and Frickley Athletic are flying the flag for West Yorkshire.
Celtic travel to Mossley while Frickley play at Shaw Lane.
In the First Division North, top-of-the-table Brighouse Town host Ossett Albion.
Town manager Paul Quinn has placed seven day notices on three players, two in his own division and one in the NPL Division One South.
Elsewhere in First Division North mid-table Ossett Town play at home to Hyde United while eighth-placed Tadcaster Albion take on Burscough at the i2i Stadium.
FOLLOWING their League Cup exit on Tuesday, third-placed Liversedge will be looking to get one over on title rivals Cleethorpes Town when they travel to Lincolnshire in the Premier Division.
A victory tomorrow would put Liversedge above their opponents and possibly back on top of the league – depending on how second-placed Thackley get on against Staveley.
Seventh-placed Pickering Town host sixth-placed Handsworth Parramore, while Garforth Town play at home to AFC Mansfield.
Elsewhere, struggling Harrogate Railway Atheltic travel to Clipstone.
In Division One, second-placed Pontefract Collieries play at sixth-placed Campion, while fourth-placed Knaresborough Town host struggling Teversal.
Eighth-placed Selby Town – who netted seven goals at Brigg Town in midweek with Calum Ward helping himself to four goals – have a home clash against Eccleshill United.
AFC Emley, who defeated Ollerton Town 2-0 in midweek play at Shirebrook Town while Glasshoughton Welfare play host to Ollerton Town.
Mid-table Yorkshire Amateur have a home game against fifth-placed Grimsby Borough tomorrow, while Nostell Miners Welfare, who are three points adrift at the bottom of the league, will be looking to chalk up only their second away win of the season at third-placed Hallam.