GUISELEY boss Mark Bower is adamant his Lions side will cope with the double blow of being without key duo Danny Boshell and Wayne Brooksby for Saturday’s Skrill North play-off final at Altrincham.
Assistant-manager Boshell, who proved the coolest of heads in two composed showings in the middle of the park in the two-legged semi-final against North Ferriby United, is ineligible under the terms of his transfer from Alty earlier this season.
While that absence is unavoidable, Bower is livid over the fact that winger Wayne Brooksby will sit out the final on the sidelines – with X-rays confirming that he broke his jaw in two places after being subjected to some hefty treatment at the hands of his former club Ferriby in Saturday’s second leg in East Yorkshire.
It’s a cruel blow for Brooksby, who despite being targeted continually, managed to fire in the only goal of the game last weekend, having been named man-of-the-match in the first leg.
Bower said: “Danny not being able to play is unfortunate, but at the time when we signed him, I suppose if they (Altrincham) said: ‘You can have him and you will get in the final of the play-offs, but he won’t be able to play’, we would have taken it.
“Although it is a blow.”
On Brooksby, he added: “Wayne has broken his jaw in two places. It was a shocking challenge and he got absolutely no protection and was a sitting duck. I am still absolutely seething about it.
“I am gutted he can’t play as he had played every single game this season.
“He has been in hospital for three nights and had a metal plate inserted into it. But it says an awful lot about his character that with his jaw broken in two places, he picked himself up off the floor on Saturday and kept getting hacked and produced the performance he did. It spoke volumes.
“But we have good players to come in. Although we are just devastated for Wayne on missing out.
“With Bosh and Wayne out, it leaves us a bit short in midfield. We also have Jack Rea out long term as well.
“It means we don’t have too many options there, but the lads who will come in will do well for us, no doubt.”
While Boshell misses out against his old side, one man who will definitely be lining up against his former team is former Nethermoor favourite James Walshaw, who alongside another Yorkshireman – in the shape of ex-Farsley frontman Damian Reeves – will be attempting to dash White Rose dreams at the weekend.
The predatory pair have hit 54 goals between them in all competitions this term, both netting in the 4-3 semi-final aggregate win over Hednesford.
Walshaw also struck a treble in the 4-1 league win over Guiseley at Moss Lane in October, but insists his old side will be a wholly different proposition on Saturday, as he aims to avoid a fourth season of Skrill North play-off heartache after three defeats with the Lions.
Walshaw, who fired both goals to seal the UniBond Premier title for Guiseley in 2009-10, when he plundered 31 goals ahead of top-scoring with 32 the following season, said: “It’s funny that I leave Guiseley with three play-off defeats in the last three years and then go to Altrincham and do very well and then get to a final where we have to beat Guiseley.
“So one of us is going to have four play-off defeats in a row, which is quite ironic.”
On the final, he added: “There is no underdog, although they might say that they are. They come into it as the form team and having lost one in 18, you could even say they are favourites – although others will say we are.
“I think it’s who turns up on the day and plays the best. Simple as that.”
While Walshaw is intending it is his current side – and not his old one – who are celebrating on Saturday tea-time, he admits that if Guiseley do triumph, it will at least soften the personal blow for himself a little, mindful of the Lions previous play-off history at this level.
He added: “It would be fantastic if we went up.
“But if we do lose, as much as it will be disappointing, I will be happy for Guiseley if they did go up.
“It would mean my friends would be going into a higher league. It’s a no-lose in that respect.”