AFTER TEN winless matches on the grass at the start of a torrid National League campaign, the advent of playing on an artificial pitch might be greeted enthusiastically by Guiseley tomorrow.
The rock-bottom Lions have endured the toughest of openings to the season, compounded by a hugely fraught night at Chester in midweek, when they went down 2-0.
The action in Cheshire saw substitute Luke Porritt taken off with an injury, with Guiseley having used all their substitutes, with Will Hatfield’s dismissal soon after ensuring that the Lions had to play out the game with nine men.
It was symptomatic of the luck that the Nethermoor outfit have endured this season, with caretaker-boss Adam Lockwood having been afforded a difficult baptism in the hotseat.
As the saying goes, what does not kill you makes you stronger and Lockwood is steadfastly retaining hope – and hopefully a change of luck by the law of averages too.
Tomorrow sees Guiseley make the long trip to Maidstone United – one of two National League sides with a 3G pitch along with Sutton United – and how the change of pitch environment could do with being accompanied with a transformation in fortune from a Lions perspective.
Anything is worth a try.
Lockwood, seeking his first win at the sixth attempt for Guiseley, already eight points adrift of safety after less than a quarter of the season, said: “The plastic pitches are quite a new concept in this standard of football and hopefully it might be a good omen for us, we’ll see.
“All we can do is prepare right and take that into consideration and hopefully go there and trying to restore a bit of pride.”
Sensibly loathe to make outlandish predictions given Guiseley’s horror start, Lockwood believes that restoring some pride represents the base camp to his side’s aspirations at the moment.
Do that over a consistent basis and then a platform can slowly be built according to the young manager, who will have learned plenty in the past few weeks.
He added: “You walk around and it is does not half hurt when you are in this situation.
“People know that you are representing the club and it hurts that you are in this position with the club.
“I hope some of the guys feel that same pain when you go to your family and they say: ‘oh you have lost again and you haven’t won yet’.
“It is something you all experience if you have a long career in the game and you have scenarios like this.
“One thing you have to do is to keep your beliefs and standards and try and raise them and keep giving it a good go.
“Hopefully, a little bit of luck will come your way and things will turn.
“Because one thing is for sure; they are a talented bunch here, but there are other things to learn and we must do it quickly.”
Saturday’s West Yorkshire derby between Tadcaster Albion and Farsley Celtic in the FA Cup second qualifying round will be an emotional affair, writes Toby Bilton.
Following the sudden death of Shaw Lane defender Daniel Wilkinson, who collapsed on the pitch at Brighouse Town earlier this week, a minute’s silence will be held at the i2i Stadium.
Wilkinson had several connections with a number of Tadcaster players, and manager Billy Miller has asked his players to enjoy the game as much as they can.
“Dan’s death gave the whole thing a reality check. It’s going to be an emotional game for many people on Saturday,” said Miller.
“We will pay our respects and then switch onto the game. The players have to go out and enjoy the game as much as they can, because that’s why they play football.”
The Evo-Stik First Division duo have started the season brightly in the league ,with the best defensive records, but Miller predicts an open game.
“Anything could happen,” he added.
Elsewhere in the Cup, National League North side Harrogate Town travel to NCEL Premier Division Bridlington Town.
Harrogate are flying high in the league, having lost just once in 10 games, and will fancy themselves against a team three divisions below them.
Bradford Park Avenue will be aiming to amend their dire run of eight straight defeats when they take on Salford City at the Horsfall.
Salford are part-owned by Manchester United’s Class of 92, and it is not the only link to the Red Devils for West Yorkshire’s teams in the Cup, as Ossett Town travel to FC United, the team formed by a group of supporters opposed to Malcolm Glazer’s Old Trafford takeover.
With two divisions separating the sides, it will by no means be an easy fixture for struggling Ossett.
FA Trophy champions FC Halifax Town kick-off their cup campaign at Wigan-based Ashton Athletic aiming to get back onto winning ways after Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Gainsborough Trinity.
Finally, Whitby Town travel to Spennymoor in what will be a tight encounter between the sides placed fourth and sixth in the Evo-Stik Premier.
FRICKLEY Athletic are in danger of being left behind at the bottom of the Evo-Stik Premier Division, writes Toby Bilton.
With just one point from eight games, they host Stafford tomorrow who have played two games fewer and whilst they have only won once, they have also lost on just one ocassion.
In the First Division North, Ossett Albion travel to Glossop North End chasing a second win of the season. With a number of their rivals competing in the Cup, it gives them a chance of climbing the table.
Second-placed Brighouse’s game with Colne has been postponed due to the tragic death of Shaw Lane defender Daniel Wilkinson last week.
In the NCEL Premier Division, second-placed Liversedge host Worksop, whilst Harrogate Railway Athletic travel to fellow strugglers Barton Town.
Hemsworth Miners Welfare will leapfrog opponents Bottesford with three points, whilst Pickering Town could win for the fifth game in a row at home to Clipstone.
Garforth, without a win in five, entertain Albion Sports.
In Division One, fourth-placed Pontefract Collieries host Grimsby Borough, Knaresborough are at home to Hallam and Glasshoughton Welfare travel to Shirebrook.
Mid-table Yorkshire Amateur entertain Westella & Willerby at Brackenedge, AFC Emley are at Hall Road Rangers and Selby Town host lowly Nostell Miners Welfare.