Non-League Football: Bower urges Lions to keep up focus for Tamworth test

Guiseley manager Mark Bower.
Guiseley manager Mark Bower.
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GUISELEY boss Mark Bower admits he is wary of the impact of the new manager syndrome ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with Tamworth.

The Lambs have flattered to deceive so far this term, despite being tipped to be among the movers and shakers in Vanarama North ahead of the action unfolding in August with Dale Belford paying the price recently.

Former Wrexham manager Andy Morrell, born in Doncaster, was unveiled as the club’s new manager last week with his first game in charge seeing the Midlanders beat Rushall Olympic in the FA Cup last weekend.

Plenty of work to do is in the 38-year-old’s intray in regards to league matters, with Tamworth residing in 19th spot with just one victory in ten matches.

Bower is anxious to ensure that the Lambs’ poor sequence continues for at least another week, with the Nethermoor chief seeking further momentum after his side’s emphatic recent 4-0 home victory over Oxford City.

Bower’s side also progressed in the cup last weekend with a hard-fought victory at Droylsden, which extended his side’s unbeaten streak to five matches in league and FA Cup with the Lions not seeing their colours lowered in September.

And his clarion call now is for his team to turn that encouraging sequence into something more substantial, while recognising the inherent dangers of facing Tamworth tomorrow.

He said: “They have a new manager coming in, so obviously, there will be one or two changes and when that happens, teams can often get that upsurge in form.

“One or two new faces will probably also come into the club and the lads who have been there will want to impress the new manager, so it will difficult from that respect. Also, they have recruited pretty well over the summer, but not had the best start. I am sure they will come good at some point this season; I just hope it will not be on Saturday.”

This time last year, Guiseley were in the midst of a debilitating seven-match winless streak ahead of a turbo-charged unbeaten run from mid-October onwards which saw them rise from the wrong end of the table up to ninth position by the end of the calendar year. Fast forward 12 months and the Lions look a far more stable entity.

However, Bower is the first to acknowledge that there is plenty more in the tank from his side, who currently lie in fourth position, within four points of pacesetters AFC Fylde.

That said, Bower has been delighted by his side’s recent defensive stinginess, as any former centre-back worth his salt would be.

The Lions have conceded just twice in five matches – after shipping seven goals in two defeats in back-to-back home losses at the end of August to Gloucester City and Gainsborough Trinity.

Bower said: “We are five unbeaten and have kept seven clean sheets in 11 matches without yet hitting the heights that we know we can get to.

“It is important we carry on that home form because that took us a long way last season.

“And I feel that the draw against Colwyn Bay and win against Oxford has put us back on track, so we will be looking to carry that on against Tamworth.”

Elsewhere, 14th-placed Harrogate Town – beaten in the FA Cup by Stockport County last weekend – visit third-placed Chorley, while fifth-from-bottom Bradford Park Avenue go to Solihull Moors.

FC Halifax, in second spot in the Vanarama Conference Premier, host struggling Altrincham.

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THE name of Emley is synonymous with cup glory in non-league circles and the present-day AFC Emley are eager to take their share of the limelight.

The side, flying high at the top of the NCEL Division One, switch focus to FA Vase matters tomorrow with an ‘away’ game with North West Counties Division One outfit Widnes in the second qualifying round, although the game will be played at the Welfare Ground after the tie was switched.

The former Emley club famously reached the Vase final at Wembley in 1987-88 and also produced several upsets in the FA Cup, with the current side hoping for their fill of cup kudos and making their own history.

Manager Darren Hepworth said: “The Vase is one we would like to have a run in and it’s important for the finances of the club.

“It is also a competition for the lads to look forward to in playing sides from different levels and leagues, although this tie has moved to our ground due to logisitics at their end.

“In some ways, we would not have minded travelling to a new place with it being a day out.

“But it’s a competition in which we had a good run just a few years ago when we got to the last 32 and we’d like another run.

“There’s obviously tremendous history at the football club with the cup competitions, albeit with different teams in a different era.

“But people still associate Emley with the cup success over the years.

“The challenge for us is that people come to us in cups and see us as a scalp and with us being top of the league, teams see it as an even bigger incentive.

“But to be honest, we enjoy that and don’t see the past as a pressure.”

Elsewhere in the Vase, Liversedge and Yorkshire Amateur head to the north east to Bedlington Terriers and Billingham Town.

Selby host Bacup and Rossendale Borough.

Albion Sports also head across the Pennines to visit Greater Manchester side Daisy Hill. Garforth visit Silsden and Hemsworth go to Winsford United. Nostell visit St Helens Town on Sunday.

In the NCEL Premier tomorrow, leaders Tadcaster visit Staveley. Thackley host Glasshoughton.

In Division One, Knaresborough welcome Teversal and Eccleshill visit Shirebrook.

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AFTER some dark days in the past few years, Frickley Athletic supporters are enjoying an overdue bit of sunshine.

Smiles are cracking out among the Blues faithful following an impressive four-match unbeaten streak in the Evo-Stik Premier, which has lifted them to the giddy heights of 12th place, just a point adrift of the play-offs.

Karl Rose’s side have shown spirit in abundance after going behind on each occasion, with in-form striker Danny South taking the plaudits in midweek following his last-gasp winner in the 2-1 success at Witton.

Rose, whose side welcome Stamford tomorrow with the impressive run instigated by a magnficent 4-2 slaying of FC United of Manchester on September 16, said: “We were bottom and now we are one point off the play-offs and want to keep it going.

“I am really pleased for the Frickley fans as they have been through some tough times, but they are always there, come rain, wind or snow, cheering you on; sometimes expecting the worst.

“We have picked up 10 points from 12 and broke our away duck on Tuesday and it’s been a good week, having come from 2-0 down to win on Saturday.

“To come from behind and win on Tuesday in the last minute was outstanding and the fitness levels are fantastic. It was also a hell of a goal from Danny South, who has got five in three now from not scoring.

“Everything seems to have clicked. We are scoring goals and playing good football and are now on a mini-run, despite going behind in every match.

“We have shown our spirit and character, but are not getting carried away. You have good times and bad and we have just got to keep believing.

“You look at the goals we have scored and the lads are all in it together and diving on top of each other and it is great to see.”

On his hopes ahead of this weekend’s clash, he added: “We have got to keep going and show no fear.

“On our day, we can give anyone a game. Hopefully, this form is not an false dawn and must keep doing what we have been.”

Elsewhere Whitby head to FC United and in the First Division North, Farsley and Ossett Albion visit Radcliffe and Scarborough Athletic. Brighouse visit Lancaster.

Ossett Town and Harrogate Railway welcome Kendal and Warrington respectively. Goole visit Sutton Coldfield in First Division South.

Guiseley loan signing from Blackpool, Raul Correia.

Non-League: Blackpool striker Correia snapped up for six months by Guiseley