Ambitious Bower targeting FA Trophy final for Guiseley

Gavin Rothery

Gavin Rothery

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MANY sides may have started to dream about Wembley this week following Monday’s FA Cup third-round draw, but Guiseley manager Mark Bower had already beaten them to it.

Bower’s Lions outfit welcome Vanarama Conference North rivals Chorley tomorrow in a first-round FA Trophy clash tomorrow, with both seeking another bite at the cherry after encouraging runs last term.

Both reached the last 16 in 2013-14, with Guiseley bowing out at Aldershot in January and Garry Flitcroft’s Mapgies losing on penalties in a third-round replay against Tamworth.

Something must give at Nethermoor tomorrow, when top sides in the top four of their division meet, with Bower admitting that a Trophy run – hopefully all the way to the final on March 29 – is at the top of his list alongside promotion this season.

Both have made their mark in the league this season, although Guiseley were pushed all the way by Evo-Stik Premier outfit Rushall Olympic in a Trophy replay in the Midlands last week, with goals from Jake Lawlor and Gavin Rothery (pen) seeing Bower’s men squeeze through 2-1.

In the most part, certainly since the end of August, Guiseley have had plenty of their own way, losing just three times in 19 games in league and cup, twice to league leaders Barrow and the other time to Conference outfit Grimsby Town in the FA Cup.

Bower said: “At this stage of the year, as opposed to last, we have played a lot of games already, which means the attraction of fitting a few more games in is not a problem at all.

“We want to go as far as we possibly can in the Trophy. I think Chorley had a good run in the competition last year and both teams will look at it and be thinking there’s a realistic chance of playing at Wembley with a bit of luck with the draw.

“If you get through a few rounds, it is not long before you are thinking of that.

“So we will be approaching the tie very seriously, just as we would if it were a league game.”

Tomorrow’s Roses test is yet another high-profile game in a big month for Guiseley, who head into the clash following their near fautless 3-0 win at Stockport County last Saturday.

For Bower, it is a case of more the merrier, with crammed schedules featuring some matches of seismic importance doing them no harm whatsoever at the business end of last season, when they went so close to clinching promotion.

Bower added: “The big games keep coming. We play Fylde over the Christmas period and Harrogate twice as well and Chorley in the Trophy – so we play some of the top teams in our league.

“At this stage of the competition, there are no easy ties really in terms of teams from leagues below. There are not many about.

“A home draw is all you can ask for and all that you want and it will be a good game.

“We have not played Chorley yet this season and it will be a good chance for both teams to look at each other.

“Both of us are looking to be challenging at the top end of the table and they are obviously a good side and it should be a good game with a decent crowd in.”

Elsewhere in the Trophy, Harrogate Town head to FC United of Manchester and Bradford Park Avenue host Kidderminster Harriers.

FC Halifax Town go to Worcester City in the Vanarama Conference.

Guiseley have beaten the drop on the final day of the season for a second successive season

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