Guiseley are aiming for a profitable road trip south

Mark Bower

Mark Bower

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AFTER MINDING the gap over the past month, Guiseley are now viewing the National League table with a little less trepidation.

AFTER MINDING the gap over the past month, Guiseley are now viewing the National League table with a little less trepidation.

The Lions’ league programme has been truncated by their continued involvement in the FA Trophy, while some postponed home fixtures has enabled a number of sides below them in the table to play catch-up with a number of games in hand.

Fortunately, not too many have made significant inroads, with 18th-placed Guiseley heading into tomorrow’s game at Woking with a handy six-point cushion above the drop zone.

It is something that manager Mark Bower is grateful for, more especially with tomorrow being their seventh successive league away-day.

Bower said: “Although we had played a quite few more games than a few of the teams around us, with with the postponements and the involvement in the trophy, those games have been pulled back and we were always looking over our shoulders at those teams with all the games in hand.

“But that is not the case any more and we have got that six-point cushion and we have all just about played the same amount of games and without really playing much in the league, our position has just got a touch better. We have still got work to do and need a few more wins. But we are looking up rather than down.”

Guiseley embark on their eighth consecutive road trip in all competitions tomorrow, with the Surrey trip to face the Cardinals representing their fourth long excursion to the south since December 19.

Friday nights a long way from home have been part of life for the Lions’ players of late, but the end of their epic run of away games is hopefully now in sight.

He added: “We have had a couple of hotels that we have used more than once, depending on where we go and we will be using a hotel we have used before ahead of the Woking game.

“At least, the lads are familiar with the routine and we knew we would be staying overnight this week, so all the lads had made arrangements with work.

“Dover last week was more difficult as it was a cup tie and there were more last-minute arrangements.

“But I have been really pleased with the way the lads have gone about the job as it can be a difficult part when the players are doing so much travelling.

“Hopefully in this last couple of away games before we start the run of home games, we can pick up a few more points to put us in a good position to kick on.”

On tomorrow’s opponents, who played out a 4-4 draw in the reverse fixture at Nethermoor, Bower said: “To be fair, we were a touch fortunate to come away with a point as they played well on the day and showed what a good side they are, especially coming forward.

“At the same time, we scored four goals against them without playing particularly good. We know there’s opportunities to score goals against them, but we are also mindful that they are a very good side going forward.

“They have also got a good surface there and they play good football and it will be a complete contrast to the game at Dover, where we had to deal with all the long ball stuff.”

Meanwhile, Bower’s first-team options are set to be boosted, with several returning players appearing in a specially arranged friendly at Shelley on Wednesday.

He said: “Lads are coming back. Oliver Norburn is not too far away and Oli Johnson is making good progress following his operation and we could see him before the end of the season.”

FC Halifax welcome Forest Green.

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Tadcaster Albion will finally return to the i2i Stadium tomorrow after a 73-day absence from their home ground.

The destruction wrought by the floods that impacted Tadcaster towards the end of December created particular havoc for the club. A floodlight issue then stopped them from returning a fortnight ago.

However, the stadium is now ready and capable of hosting the game against Liversedge tomorrow.

Albion have an opportunity to climb back to the summit of the Northern Counties Eastern Football League Premier Division with a victory, although they are reliant on Worksop Town losing away from home against Brigg Town.

Victory should prove a surmountable task for Albion, as Liversedge are currently propping up the rest of the NCEL’s top flight. The 22nd-placed side have not won once away all season and go into the game having won only one of their last six.

Tadcaster have won five over the same period.

Elsewhere, Garforth Town, 14th in the Premier Division, host Cleethorpes Town. Victory for Garforth could see them climb a place and reach 13th, although Cleethorpes are likely to prove stern opposition. The fifth-placed side have only lost twice on the road.

Nostell Miners Welfare are on the road as they visit Clipstone, who are seventh in the division.

Nostell, in 19th, could do with a victory to pull away from Brigg Town in 21st. Brigg have two fewer points than Nostell but hold two games in-hand on them.

In Division One, league leaders Hemsworth Miners Welfare host Knaresborough Town. Hemsworth are currently eight points clear of AFC Mansfield in second and look increasingly likely to secure promotion this season, especially as they possess a game in-hand.

Bottesford Town are the guests at Selby Town tomorrow, with Selby, in 12th, looking for a victory that would put them back into the top half of the table. Selby have three more games to play than Teversal in 11th, who face AFC Emley.

Glasshoughton Welfare are also in action, travelling to Lincoln Moorlands Railway, while Westella VIP host Hallam, an opportunity for Hallam to climb up to seventh in the table with a win.

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Harrogate Railway Athletic have suffered a blow ahead of their match against Glossop North End on Saturday.

The Railway have lost defender Nathaniel Pells after the 19-year-old secured a scholarship in the United States of America.

Pells began his career at Huddersfield Town, progressing through their academy, before moving to Harrogate Town last summer. He then joined Railway on a dual-registration deal in August, playing 16 games before this week’s news.

The potential clash against Glossop tomorrow would be Railway’s first game for a week after their matches against Warrington Town and Burscough were both postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Railway are also hopeful that their match against Spennymoor Town on Monday will go ahead.

Elsewhere in the First Division North, Ossett Albion visit Warrington Town.

Albion are currently third in the division.

They are 14 points behind Norwich Victoria in second and 22 away from top spot.

Local rivals Ossett Town take on Radcliffe Borough at home.

Ossett Town are two points ahead of Railway, who are just inside the relegation zone.

Farsley Celtic host Lancaster City, with a victory allowing them to leapfrog their opposition and climb up to sixth.

In the Premier Division, Frickley Athletic visit Stamford.

Jordan Preston.

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