REFLECTING upon the year that was, Mark Bower has cause to remember one particular date more than any other – the night of October 22.
After a baptism of fire as boss at Guiseley, the fixture list appeared to offer no let-up for Bower in the shape of a trip to high-flying Skrill North side North Ferriby United.
On paper, it was the last thing the Lions would have wanted after seven games without a win.
But Guiseley upset the form book with a fine 3-2 victory and haven’t looked back since and head into tomorrow’s home clash with Harrogate Town boasting a majestic 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions, with the run yielding 12 wins.
Bower, whose tenth-placed side are level on points with Simon Weaver’s Town – but with two games in hand – said: “The turning point was definitely when we went to North Ferriby just after drawing to Histon – after losing six in a row. It was the game in which Gavin Rothery came back from suspension and we secured the permanent signings of Adam Lockwood and Alex Johnson, while Danny Boshell came in as my assistant as well.
“Everything came together on the night. It was a really good performance and we beat them when they were second in the league and we were a fantastic force that night. We have really kicked on since them and have had some good results in the trophy and want to keep that going as long as we can.
“We have managed to keep the run going, when maybe people thought it would come to an end with a really difficult run of fixtures with Boston, Altrincham, Harrogate and Bradford Park Avenue twice.
“We had a similar run of fixtures in my first five games in charge and the turnaround has been quite significant. There’s also good competition and the lads have got to stay on their toes because if not, there’s people to take their places.”
Guiseley’s weekend game at Gainsborough fell victim to the elements and tomorrow’s Nethermoor clash could also be under threat if there is significant rainfall. Harrogate were in action at the weekend, although maybe wish they went after going down 1-0 at Vauxhall Motors.
Bower added: “They had been on a good run, although they have lost three in a row now.
“But they have the quality to end that run. We will be trying to make sure that doesn’t happen on Wednesday.”
Danny Hall has a chance of being fit tomorrow despite picking up a hamstring injury on Boxing Day and could come into contention, as could several others who would not have been available for the Gainsborough game, including Adam Lockwood.
On the prospect of tomorrow’s game being staged, Bower said: “It’s difficult to tell as the pitch has taken a bit of a battering.
“We will just prepare as we can’t control the weather.
“We’ve done quite well so far in that we’ve only had one game called off considering the weather we’ve had.”
Bradford Park Avenue play host to Stockport County in a glamour fixture to kick off the 2014 programme.