Bower hopes return home can give Guiseley timely lift

Mark Bower.
Mark Bower.
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AFTER giving Guiseley punters something to shout about during a fine 15-match unbeaten sequence, Mark Bower is wanting the wider neighbourhood to do their bit tomorrow.

The Lions, whose magnificent run was only halted by Skrill Premier outfit Aldershot Town last weekend – the Hampshire side triumphing 3-0 in their FA Trophy clash – return to Nethermoor with a glamour game to start 2014 in divisional big guns Stockport County.

A fair-sized travelling contingent are expected to descend upon Guiseley, who haven’t tasted a home loss since the end of September. And Bower is hoping for his own crowd boost from local patrons – with the Lions having not played at home since December 21 – to give them an extra edge.

Guiseley’s average home attendance of 466 is the 11th best in the Skrill North, with Stockport leading the way by a distance at the top with a mightilyimpressive 2,517 – around 1,000 more than their closest rival AFC Telford, with their away support also the best in the division.

After a poor opening to the campaign, Alan Lord’s side have steadied the ship somewhat, with Guiseley seeking to nip matters in the bud tomorrow.

Bower said: “Stockport are the biggest club at our level and should bring a good following and, hopefully, a few of our fans will turn out, given that we haven’t had a game for a while.

“Hopefully, there will be a good atmosphere. I have seen them play a couple of times this year and they have picked up a bit lately after a difficult start. We are just looking forward to getting out on our pitch and getting back to winning ways.

“As a player, you want to be playing in front of big crowds and good atmospheres. You strive to play against the likes of Stockport and the Halifax’s, Wrexham’s, Lincoln’s and Grimsby’s.

“We are just looking to bounce back from Aldershot. It was a bit disappointing as we went there thinking we had a chance of getting a result. But it was a good experience.”

While Guiseley’s excellent unbeaten run may have finally been surrendered, you have to go back to October 5 for their last league defeat, a 4-1 reverse at Altrincham.

Bower, whose side signed former Norwich City striker Oli Johnson yesterday and offered fresh terms to ex-Leeds United left-back Ben Parker, said: “We have taken 24 points from the last 30 in the league and the aim now after a bit of a break is to catch those teams in front of us.

“There’s now a gap between us and the top seven or eight. We’d pulled that in before our Trophy commitments and games being called off and it’s opened up.

“People say you would rather have points on the board, but the incentive is still there for us.”

Harrogate make the long trip to Leamington, while Bradford Park Avenue are at home to play-off candidates Hednesford.

Conference fixtures: Shay to host Halifax’s first derby with Lions