GUISELEY’S squad resources may be stretched at the moment, but you won’t catch Mark Bower bemoaning his lot.
And with good reason, with his Lions side heading south to Worcester City tomorrow on the back of a 4-2 derby success over Harrogate Town at Nethermoor – despite being without the likes of suspended forward Adam Boyes.
An injury to Wayne Brooksby, who is likely to miss tomorrow’s game, means Bower’s creative options are further minimised, but with his high-flying side having lost just twice in Vanarama North since the end of August, confidence remains at a high level.
With little funds at his disposal to boost his numbers, Bower may have to make do with what he has got, but he can be secure in the knowledge that is still considerable.
Bower said: “We are thin at the minute and if you look at the bench for the Harrogate game, we had three teenagers on it and we lost Wayne Brooksby with a hamstring injury and he is extremely doubtful.
“The squad is really being pushed at the minute. We are probably not in a position to do much in terms of bringing any fresh faces, other than what we have got.
“You look at Harrogate and they are able to bring in proven Conference quality players and league players on the last couple of weeks unfortunately we are not in a position to do that.
“But the lads will put on a determined, committed show and if we produce the quality we showed for large spells against Harrogate, we will be all right as that performance epitomised what we are about.”
Offering his thoughts on Worcester, he added: “It is going to be a difficult game.
“They have had an interesting past few weeks with their FA Cup exploits and they have been on a really good run as well.”
Their options may not be plentiful, but positivity won’t be in short supply for Guiseley, who head south with a spring in their step after the New Year’s Day derby victory over Harrogate, leaving the Lions in third spot, four points behind leaders AFC Fylde.
A replication of that performance would be just the ticket tomorrow for Bower, who felt his side set the standards for large parts of the accomplished derby win.
He said: “That is what we want to put on week in, week out. Sometimes it is not as easy as other games and when it is not, we have got to do what we did on Boxing Day, but it was pleasing for us to go out there and express ourselves and show what we can do.
“Doing that on the pitch really does breed confidence and the lads enjoyed it.
“The game was thoroughly enjoyable for 65 to 70 minutes and we probably put our foot off the gas (after), but them playing with the wind behind them and nothing to lose effectively meant they put us under pressure and we conceded a couple of scrappy goals, which made you worry a touch.
“But looking at the performance as a whole, we were absolutely superb in how we moved the ball about and seemed to have an extra dimension on the pitch in terms of the options we had on the counter-attack and in open play as well.
“I thought AJ (Alex Johnson) was terrific coming into the side and I thought he held the ball up magnificently for us and helped give us that platform to get playing.
“All in all, we created plenty of chances and I was really pleased with it and it was terrific to watch.”
After the loss to Guiseley, Harrogate will be seeking redress when they host Hednesford tomorrow.
Bradford Park Avenue visit Leamington.
THE new year may have barely begun, but Ossett Town already face a date with destiny at home to rock-bottom Padiham this afternoon.
The Ingfielders have dropped to fourth-from-bottom in the Evo-Stik First Division North and are in dire need of points, with the arrival of Lancashire outfit Padiham representing an opportunity that John Reed’s side dare not pass up.
The veteran manager recently admitted that Town were in a relegation battle, with their position ‘shocking’ following a run of just two wins in 11 matches with the fact they have a number of games in hand not providing much consolation.
Their last home defeat was a damaging one, losing 3-0 on home soil to near-neighbours Ossett Albion, with the alarm bells reverberating at Ingfield ahead of the clash with Padiham, who have won just twice in 25 league games this term.
Loan signing Lewis Clarkson is set to be handed a home debut after arriving from Bradford City, with the former Scarborough player making his bow in the 3-0 loss at Spennymoor on New Year’s Day.
On Clarkson, Reed said: “This is a great opportunity for the lad to find some form, if he does that then I have no doubt he will be back in the Bradford City first team squad before the season is over.
“Lewis is very fast, as strong as an ox and he certainly knows where the back of the net is.
“I am confident he will help us as we look to move up the table in the coming weeks.”
Elsewhere this afternoon, Farsley, who ended Harrogate Railway’s eye-catching ten-match unbeaten run in a 4-2 victory on New Year’s Day at Throstle Nest, visit New Mills, beaten 3-2 at Ossett Albion a couple of days ago.
Albion, who enjoyed a holiday bonanza with victories over the Millers and local rivals Town, head to Station View to face Billy Miller’s Rail today.
The loss at Farsley for Rail, named as the Evo-Stik divisional team of the month for December, was made worse with defender Mike Morris taken to hospital with a suspected broken tibia.
Scarborough Athletic, who comprehensively defeated Brighouse 4-0 on New Year’s Day, welcome Spennymoor on the east coast.
Brighouse will be seeking to make amends when they make the trip to face Darlington 1883, who are two points behind leaders Northwich Victoria, with three matches in hand.
Action in the First Division South sees Goole AFC make the trip to Rainworth.
THE second half of 2014 proved a vintage one for Tadcaster Albion, with the table-topping Brewers facing the side who they played against to end the calendar year – in the shape of Bridlington Town.
Brid head west still smarting from their 3-2 festive home loss to Tadcaster, with ex-Brid man Josh Greening netting a dramatic 90th-minute winner – in front of 200 visiting fans.
Tadcaster have already triumphed ten times on home soil in the NCEL Premier Division this season and are ten points clear at the summit, although second-placed Worksop Town do have two games in hand.
Paul Marshall’s side will be hoping neighbours Garforth Town can do them a favour at home to Worksop, with the Miners seeking their first win since November 25.
Relegation-threatened Glasshoughton Welfare start 2015 with a trip to Barton Town, who have won their last three games.
Welfare secured just their third win of a tough season last time out in a 2-1 win over Liversedge, thanks to goals from Jimmy Dyson and Kingsley Wetherald and the aim now is to double up with another three points.
Thackley, who have lost their last two games, make the journey to Handsworth Parramore, while Liversedge, who haven’t won since November 1, hope their fortunes can change when they welcome Albion Sports.
After the games last Saturday were virtually wiped out by the weather, Division One sides are seeking to make up for lost time today.
Leaders AFC Emley, who lost their last game in a shock 3-1 home loss to Yorkshire Amateur, start 2015 with a home clash with in-form fifth-placed side Louth Town, who have won their last six league matches.
Ammers begin the new year with a trip to cellar-dwellers Grimsby Borough, who have failed to win any of their 12 home games so far this season.
Hemsworth MW, in fourth place and enjoying a fine season, welcome lowly Hallam, while mid-tablers Knaresborough Town play host to Worsbrough Bridge Athletic.
Selby Town visit crisis side Lincoln Moorlands Railway, while Pontefract Collieries host Hall Road Rangers.
Eccleshill visit Rossington Main.