Guiseley work overtime to maintain team focus

Mark Bower.
Mark Bower.
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It would be easy to allow the delayed renovation of Nethermoor Park to distract from footballing matters.

It would be easy to allow the delayed renovation of Nethermoor Park to distract from footballing matters.

But Guiseley manager Mark Bower is refusing to let those thoughts enter his mind ahead of this weekend’s trip to Dover.

The Lions have until the end of March to bring their stadium up to National League standard, which includes increasing the capacity to around 4,000.

However, amid a run of nearly three months without a home league fixture, Bower admits his focus is on the pitch and ensuring Guiseley remain in the National League by merit.

He said: “We have not been really affected by it much as players and staff, because we have not been at the ground to see any of the progression. If we were playing there every other week, seeing the progression and then it stops, it might play on your mind.

“Because we have not played there since December and no league game since November, you’re a bit detatched from it. It’s a bit bizarre.

“The lads have to concentrate on themselves and performing their roles in the team to get us results. It will be a few weeks before we are back there to see what improvements have been made.”

The trip to Dover Athletic tomorrow, at 287 miles, is the longest journey Guiseley will make on their run of eight consecutive away matches.

However, Bower will not be complaining if his side manage to progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy on Saturday.

It is an opportunity to create history for the Lions. They can take inspiration from fellow Yorkshire side North Ferriby United, who won the competition last season.

The former Bradford City full-back admits Dover could prove a tough test, with the south coast club eighth in the National League.

“The travelling does take its toll, especially for us with part-time players who have to get time off work to go down to some of these places on a Friday,” he revealed.

“We are in the Trophy, so we have given ourselves that away game down at Dover, that’s what we have earned. It’s a difficult game, a difficult tie for us.

“Geographically it throws up a few problems for us. It’s an opportunity for us; we are in the last-16 now, a good result on Saturday gets us into the last eight.

“Anything can happen from there. It’s a different pressure than the league. Hopefully that change can freshen the lads up again, play with a bit of confidence and a bit more freedom.

“It’s funny how cup competitions do that. It’s a massive opportunity to get through. A kind draw and we could be well on our way.”

Elsewhere, FC Halifax Town will try to put their midweek West Riding County Cup penalty shoot-out disappointment behind them when they face Chester at the Shay.

Town can move to within a point of Guiseley in 18th with a victory.

Bradford Park Avenue, who beat Halifax on Wednesday, host Corby Town. A victory could take Avenue up to 16th in the National League North.

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Yet another home fixture postponement has left Liversedge FC in the middle of a crisis.

Liversedge’s last home game took place on October 31, 97 days ago, and in that spell the club has had no income to speak of.

Even those who have been involved with Liversedge for years cannot remember a worse situation. Bryan Oakes, the club secretary, has had roles at the club for 38 years, but he admits the current crisis is unprecedented.

Mr Oakes said: “I have not seen anything like this and I don’t think many clubs will have.

“With the weather as it is, rain just keeps topping up the levels and there is nowhere for the water to drain.

“The pitch looks beautiful but as soon as you stand on it the pitch moves like a jelly and it is dangerous.

“We still have gas and electric bills but with no gate, bar and food receipts the club is struggling.

“We have got to progress. The club is 104 years old and we don’t want to lose it. We have also never been relegated in Liversedge’s history.”

Liversedge will remain bottom of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division after their match against Pontefract Collieries was postponed on Tuesday.

Tadcaster Albion have been through a crisis of their own this season and have still not played a game at the i2i Stadium since December 2. They have, however, won two games on the spin, a 4-1 victory against league leaders Worksop Town and a 1-0 win against Pontefract Collieries.

That bodes well for their trip to Bridlington Town tomorrow, which could see them climb back to the top of the table with a victory.

Nostell Miners Welfare and Garforth Town face each other tonight at Nostell.

Hemsworth Miners Welfare will be looking to extend their lead at the top of Division One when they visit Eccleshill United. Hemsworth are currently eight points clear of AFC Mansfield and have a game in-hand over the second-placed side.

Also in action are 16th-placed Glasshoughton Welfare. They have a potentially tough task on their hands when they host Hull United, who are sixth in the NCEL’s second tier. Hull have the potential to climb up to fourth with a victory.

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Harrogate Railway Athletic have been handed a triple boost ahead of their match against Warrington Town tomorrow.

Railway have snapped up a trio of talents – striker Nathan Curtis, defender George Foster-Vigors, and Bradford City youngster Luca Mellor on a work experience loan. Curtis and Foster-Vigors are likely to start tomorrow’s game against the league leaders.

Manager Lee Ashforth hailed the acquisition of Curtis: “Nathan is a quality player for this level of football.

“He will offer something different for us.

“We have been looking all season for a target man to chase down the balls into the corner and get goals and Nathan has that ability.

Farsley Celtic are also in action. Celtic travel to Burscough knowing that a victory will move them to within a point of their opposition in fifth place.

Ossett Albion will be looking to extend the gap between themselves and sixth place with a victory against Prescot Cables.

Albion are currently six points into the play-off places and will be hopeful of beating the First Division North’s 16th-placed side when they face each other tomorrow.

Local rivals Ossett Town will be thinking about overhauling Radcliffe Borough in 19th and extending the gap between themselves and the relegation zone when they travel to Witton Albion.

Elsewhere, in the Premier Division, Frickley Athletic take on Ashton United at home.

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