Guiseley AFC face a big task to try and tame Forest Green Rovers

Mark Bower
Mark Bower
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Mark Bower has admitted there are few comparisons to be made between Guiseley and big-spending Forest Green Rovers ahead of tonight’s game.

Forest Green have shot up the National League after a sustained period of investment following the 2010 purchase of the club by Dale Vince, owner of Ecotricity.

The National League’s second-placed side may have implemented some of England’s more eccentric policies, like becoming an all-vegan club in October 2015, but that has not stopped them from attracting some big names, like former Barnsley, Hull City and York City striker Jon Parkin.

Bower is therefore unsurprised to see them towards the top of the National League: “They are a team that are obviously spending an awful lot of money.

“They have established Football League players, who turned down options to play in the Football League to play for Forest Green. A lot of that is down to the money that is being spent there.

“The budget that they have is one for a team that has aspirations of playing in the Football League or for teams playing in the Football League.”

However, the Lions’ manager believes Forest Green deserve credit for the form they have put together in the league. He continued: “It is easy enough having the money but going out there and producing results is different, and they are doing that at the minute.

“They have won eight and drawn one of the last nine league games, and against the bottom half teams in the league they have played 19, won 17, drawn one and lost one, so they have been ruthlessly efficient.

“I don’t think you can compare us with Forest Green at all, really.

“They have been at this level for a lot of years, building a team.

“With the form that they are on, they are the only team that can catch Cheltenham this season, and you would not bet against them doing it.”

Guiseley are currently 17th in the table, but the respective league positions of both sides does not provide an excuse for Bower, who is well aware that an underdog can always upset the form book.

He continued: “We want to win the game, if not we will try and get a draw. It’s a game for us to try and get points in.

“You have seen this weekend that teams in the bottom four beat teams in the top four.

“If the players play to the best of their ability we have enough to cause them problems and possibly get a result. It’s a good challenge.

“They are a team on an unbelievable run at the moment, so we can put ourselves against them and see how far we’ve come.”

Elsewhere in the National League, Halifax Town travel to Braintree having climbed out of the relegation zone on Saturday with a victory against Grimsby Town.

In the Evo-Stik Premier division, Frickley Athletic travel to Blyth Spartans. Farsley Celtic host Burscough in the First Division North, while Harrogate Railway Athletic travel to New Mills.

Pontefract Collieries visit Thackley in the NCEL Premier Division.

Westella VIP face Worsbrough Bridge Athletic away from home. Yorkshire Amateur host Grimsby Borough.

KEY MAN: John Rooney saw his free-kick deflected into the side to give Guiseley the lead in Saturdays 1-1 draw with visiting Dover Athletic.

Non league: Lions make their point in Dover draw