GUISELEY BOSS Mark Bower says he is hoping to land one more signing ahead of the big Vanarama National League kick-off at Welling on Saturday.
Former Barnsley and Grimsby Town defender Rob Atkinson is the club’s latest close-season arrival, taking the number of new recruits at Nethermoor to five following the previous captures of Adam Lockwood, Will Hatfield, Tom Craddock and loan forward Jake Charles, who has joined for a month from Huddersfield Town.
Bower admits that some pre-season niggles in his squad has forced his hand in arranging another pre-season friendly tonight at Ossett Albion (7.45pm), when a number of Lions players will get some more game-time ahead of their league opener at Welling.
By and large, Bower says he is happy with how his squad is shaping up ahead of their maiden adventure in the fifth tier of English football, but admits that finalising one new signing before the weekend would be nice, in an ideal world.
Bower said: “Possibly one more needs to come in and there’s just a little bit more to do.
“But we are there or thereabouts, so we will certainly be able to field a strong side for that first game, which we are all looking forward to.
“It’s been a bit frustrating in that we’ve had a few niggling injuries and it has made it difficult to get enough game-time into everyone we wanted to in pre-season and we’ve had a few more trialists than expected.
“That made us set up the extra game at Ossett Albion to get a few more players up to speed.
“But pre-seasons are always up and down and you don’t read too much into results or anything like that.
“The majority are fit and ready to go and looking forward to finally getting started.”
Bower says he is delighted with the acquisitions of Atkinson, former Portsmouth, Luton Town and Middlesbrough forward Tom Craddock and Huddersfield starlet Charles, who has arrived from Town on a month’s loan.
Bower added: “Rob has been with us for a few weeks now and is a proven Football League player. He played fifty games for Accrington last year, so we are getting a solid and expierneced defender who is still only 28 years old.
“He has some good years ahead of him still and bringing him in is a real plus for us.
“Tom Craddock is also proven at 28. He has had a couple of bad years with injury, but he has been fit for a long time now and in the training and pre-season games he has played for us, he has looked sharp and linked up well with the rest of the lads.
“He is a proven goalscorer and if we get the ball to him, I am sure he will score goals.”
On Charles, he added: “With Oli Johnson struggling, we were lacking a bit of pace down the left-hand side going forward and Jake is athletic and strong and runs with the ball well.
“He has got an eye for goal as well and hopefully the experience will help his progression and he can help us out as well.”
Other friendlies tonight see Frickley head to Glasshoughton and Knaresborough welcome Harrogate Railway.
Ossett Town, Nostell and Brighouse head to AFC Emley, Athersley Rec and Beeston St Anthony’s respectively.
Yorkshire Amateur visit Carlton Athletic and Pontefract Colls take on Goole AFC.