Lions add Hurst for Tranmere showdown

Guiseley manager Mark Bower.

Guiseley manager Mark Bower.

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Guiseley manager Mark Bower believes his squad is growing in strength ahead of Saturday’s visit to Tranmere Rovers, after an injury-hit period saw them struggling for players.

Guiseley manager Mark Bower believes his squad is growing in strength ahead of Saturday’s visit to Tranmere Rovers, after an injury-hit period saw them struggling for players.

The Lions, who lost 4-1 to Eastleigh last weekend, have added defender James Hurst on loan from Torquay. The 23-year-old has previously represented West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City.

Adam Lockwood is also set to return from suspension, but a handful of players will still be out nursing injuries received in recent weeks.

Bower admitted that a decent display against Eastleigh, despite the defeat, has left him with something of a dilemma.

He said: “It’s probably going to be a bit too soon for Will Hatfield and Ben Parker.

“We’ve got James Hurst, who we’ve just signed from Torquay. He’ll come into the squad. Adam Lockwood is available again after suspension.

“We’ve got more strength than last week, when we were really down to the bare bones.

“The lads that came in did well, so it’s a decision for me to make now as to whether we stick with what we had last week or bring one or two back in.”

Guiseley are 16th in the National League, only four places behind Tranmere.

Bower believes that the weekend’s opponents will be aiming higher, but does not intend to send his team out to earn a draw.

He said: “I think Tranmere have probably got their sights on finishing in the top five.

“It can take a bit of time to adjust to the level when you have been relegated from the Football League and I’m sure as the season goes on they will get stronger and stronger and end up challenging for promotion.

“For us, not to be too far behind them shows that we’re doing okay.

“There’s been a couple of additions to the squad in the last few weeks that I feel will help us push on further and give the likes of Tranmere Rovers a good battle.

“We won’t go there and shut up shop and hope to nick a point.

“We don’t have the players in our squad that are set up to do that.

“We’ll go there and try and get on the ball and play.”

Bower also feels that the loss against Eastleigh will teach his team some lessons going forward, especially for the trip to Tranmere.

He said: “We were playing a top team, these teams that have got big budgets and are established at this level, when they get chances they’re going to take them. When we have our spells we’ve got to be more ruthless against these top sides, or we will be on the end of scorelines like that.”

Meanwhile, the division’s bottom club, FC Halifax Town, who parted company with manager Darren Kelly this week, travel to Gateshead.

In the Vanarama North, Bradford Park Avenue in 14th, host Hednesford Town, and fifth-placed Harrogate Town go to mid-table Corby Town.

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Frickley Athletic will look to close the gap on the Evo Stik Premier Division play-off places when they host Workington on Saturday.

Athletic, who are 12th, are currently three points behind their opponents in the table after Saturday’s 3-1 win against Stamford.

Farsley Celtic, 20th in the league, travel to Clitheroe along with a new assistant manager, their former player Lee Connor.

He previously played for Farsley under Martin Haresign and Lee Sinnott, before a Toolstation NCEL winning spell after the club reformed.

About his return, he said: “I have always hoped to come back to the club. I have been asked a couple of times to go elsewhere in a coaching role, but ultimately I am delighted that this opportunity has come up.

“I played against Farsley earlier in the season for Ossett and coming off the pitch you had to wonder how this Farsley team were sitting where they were in the league.

“That night some of the players took us apart and I can’t wait to work with them on a weekly basis.”

Kendal Town welcome Ossett Albion, who are ninth in the First Division North. Albion’s squad was boosted by the loan signing of 19-year-old winger Luke Porritt from Guiseley yesterday. Porritt has made four substitute appearances for the Lions this season.

Ossett Town host Prescott Cables, who are two places above them in the league in 15th, while Brighouse Town travel to Northwich Victoria.

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Tadcaster Albion could have set up a swimming club on their pitch last weekend, but manager Billy Miller is keen for the FA Vase clash against Worksop Town to go ahead tomorrow.

Storms Abigail and Barney wreaked havoc with sporting fixtures and venues, leaving Albion’s pitch under a ‘fair few inches’ of water, according to Miller, but updates on the club’s social media accounts suggest the tide is turning.

A friendly against York City on Tuesday night was postponed, but Miller believes the field is in good hands ahead of Saturday’s game at the i2i Stadium.

“We have an amazing set of fans and volunteers,” said Miller.

“It will be disappointing if the game is off, but everyone at the club will give us the best possible chance of getting it on.

“We’ve got a good team on the field and that’s matched by the team of people we’ve got off it, so we know they will leave no stone unturned in trying to get the game on.

“The ground is under a fair few inches of water and you can’t get into the car park either at the moment so it’s a little bit frustrating, but we’re confident it won’t be a big problem long term.

“But, if the game does go ahead, it will be a big one.”

While Taddy currently lead the NCEL Premier Division, Miller is aware of the task ahead when his side host the team in second.

He said: “Worksop are a really good side, very good technically, and we turned them over at their place a couple of weeks ago so they’d love nothing more than to knock us out.

“It’s obviously only early days but any cup is always exciting and we’d love to go on and win it. We’re clearly a long way off that stage yet and we haven’t looked that far ahead, but it would be a great reward for everyone who puts their time into the club to win some silverware, and Saturday is where it all starts.”

Elsewhere, Liversedge travel to Nostell Miners Welfare tonight, while Pontefract Collieries face Clipstone FC tomorrow in the Premier Division.

Albion Sports’ game on Wednesday night was postponed, but they host Athersley Recreation tomorrow.

In Division One, Knaresborough Town visit AFC Emley.