FA Trophy preview: Guiseley AFC V Luton Town

Guiseley's James Walshaw.
Guiseley's James Walshaw.
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KEEPER Steve Drench believes Guiseley will have a point to prove when they take on Luton Town at Nethermoor Park tomorrow in an eagerly-awaited FA Trophy quarter-final.

It will be the Blue Square Bet North side’s fifth meeting with a team from non-league football’s top tier this season.

Their Trophy run has seen them win 3-2 at holders Barrow and eliminate Eastbourne 2-1 in a replay after a 1-1 draw on the south coast.

But the 5-0 home drubbing by Crawley Town in the FA Cup first round, back in November, still rankles amongst the Guiseley players.

Crawley are favourites for promotion to the Football League and proved their credentials by reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup, but Drench feels Guiseley didn’t do themselves justice that afternoon.

“We have got a few wrongs to right after the Crawley game,” he said. “That is in the back of our minds.

“We have progressed since then. That was a learning curve, we went into it in good form and we thought we had a good chance, but we didn’t perform on the day.

“Hopefully we will be a bit more prepared on Saturday and can show how far we have progressed.”

Luton are fourth in Blue Square Bet Premier, nine points behind leaders AFC Wimbledon with four games in hand.

“They are on a good run,” said Drench. “But we have done well to get to the quarter-finals, so it should be a good game.

“The Trophy is massive for us. Everybody likes to do well in the cup competitions.

“We are still concentrating on the league, but it is nice to get a bit of a break. We didn’t get the result we wanted on Tuesday night (against Harrogate Town), but it gives us something to think about for Saturday.”

Luton are the biggest club left in the competition and were a Championship side only four years ago. Five years ago today they lost 2-1 to Leeds United at Elland Road.

Massive

“It’s a good draw,” Drench said. “They were up there last year in the play-offs and it will be a good test to see where we are and show that if we do get promoted this year we will be able to compete against the best teams in the Conference.

“It would be massive for us if we got through this one. I think Guiseley has got a lot of potential to become a really big club.

“It’ll be good to get a few people through the gate and show them what the team is capable of. Luton are flying high in the Conference, but we are confident.

“We will see how it goes, but if we play well, we have a good chance.”

Guiseley have lost only three times in all competitions this season and have conceded more than one goal on just seven occasions out of 34 games played.

“I love it here,” said Drench, whose former clubs include Morecambe, Southport and Leigh Genesis.

“I fell out of love with football a few years ago due to one thing and another, injuries and things like that.

“Steve Kittrick, the gaffer, has really looked after me and it’s a good set of lads. I am really enjoying my time here.”

Luton manager Richard Money was on the guest list at Harrogate Town on Tuesday night, when Guiseley – without leading scorer James Walshaw (suspended) and defenders Danny Ellis (unavailable) and Ryan Toulson (injured) – were held to a scoreless draw.

All three are expected back tomorrow and Kittrick said: “Having seen the first half, Luton will know that we can play.

“We’ll give it a good go against them and if we play properly, how we can play, we will trouble them. We will be positive.”

Guiseley are hoping for a crowd of up to 2,000. The game is not all-ticket and admission is £10 for adults and £5 concessions, with accompanied under-12s admitted free.

New terracing has been installed and the club have received planning permission for a second seated stand, which will allow the club to take part in this year’s Conference North play-offs.

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