MARK BOWER is challenging Guiseley to follow the Braintree route to success – following the part-timers’ remarkable rise to the National League play-offs.
Lions supporters may be busy basking in the glow of securing their Conference status after a dramatic 4-3 weekend win over Torquay following a third season of considerable success, but Bower has quickly set his sights on his next challenge.
After fulfilling his three-year plan upon taking over at Nethermoor, the ambitious boss is now targeting consolidation further up the table – with making an impact in the business positions being his longer-term objective.
It is a lofty aim, but the example of Braintree, a semi-professional club who won 1-0 in the Conference play-offs at Grimsby Town last night, provides sides like Guiseley with considerable incentive, according to Bower.
And while the Nethermoor chief is too sage to suggest that Guiseley can follow in their footsteps next season, their exploits do provide hope.
Bower said: “You look at Braintree who finished high as a part-time club and showed what can be possible.
“They have been in the league for a few years and have built and established themselves at this level and that’s something we have got to look at.
“Halifax also got in the play-offs a few years ago as a part-time club. So it is possible and the experience we have had will help us.
“I am not saying we will get in the play-offs next year and it will be a very strong league. But we have a good position to build next season.
“When we took over in September to October 2013, the club mapped out a three-year plan which was consolidation that year, promotion the next year and establishing in the Conference the year after and we ticked the first two boxes and managed to get over the line in the third.
“We have done that and we have earned being at the same level as the Tranmeres and Wrexhams and while we have learnt some lessons along the way, it has put us in a good position to improve next year.
“Ours is a big achievement when you look at the fact that there are three part-time clubs in the north of England and two – Halifax and Altrincham – have gone down.
“But we know we have matched the bigger sides.
“We had said to the players all week: ‘Finish on 49 points and history shows that you will stay up’ and no team had ever gone down in the league having lost 19 games.
“Although we did draw too many and now the challenge is how to improve and turn those draws into victories.”
“But I think getting over the line is what everyone at the club deserves.”
Guiseley’s part-time status may bring with it obvious disadvantages, but Bower sees some fringe benefits also – more especially in recruitment.
He added: “Depending on who comes up, we could be the only part-time outfit in the north and it will suit a lot of players to play part-time in the Conference and we will be one of or at the most two in the (north) area and it puts us in a decent way.
“There are some plusses to being part-time and negatives and we have made our decision and will do our best to go back that.”