ALL roads lead to Nethermoor tomorrow afternoon and opportunity knocks for on-song Guiseley at home to Vanarama North leaders Barrow.
The game pits first against second, with the Lions running hot after four successive wins, the latest coming on Tuesday when they saw off visiting Solihull Moors 3-0, thanks to goals from Wayne Brooksby (2) and Oli Johnson.
The latter, in fine form of late, has signed fresh terms to commit his medium-term future to the club, further adding to the feel-good factor at Guiseley, who don’t need telling twice that victory tomorrow will see them go top of the pile in the division.
It’s a major incentive for Mark Bower’s troops, who started their recent winning run after a narrow 1-0 loss at Barrow on November 1 and now have the perfect chance to get one over the Bluebirds in double-quick time.
Bower, whose side will move two points clear of Barrow with a win, albeit having played two games more, said: “It should be a good one.
“The game there was closely fought. I thought we were on top in the first half and they were in the second and it could have gone either way and we felt a little bit hard done by with some of the decisions at the end.
“We were nine points behind us when we went away from that game, but now we have a chance of going above them.
“It’s been a good run. With the five games in 15 games, we hoped to get close to the top and a win on Saturday will leave us top of the pile and it’s a great incentive for the lads.
“With the way we are playing, we should have plenty of confidence to go out there and put on a good performance.
“It’s a game between two sides who will be up there and it’s another opportunity for the lads to get another win against a team who beat us recently.
“If we are going to be up there at the end of the season, we need to be taking points off the other teams up there. We will have to be at our best to get anything.”
The plaudits are being shared around among Guiseley’s players across the pitch at the moment, with chief among that number being Shane Killock, who has settled in seamlessly after arriving on loan from Harrogate Town. Killock has tasted victory in all of his four matches so far, with the Lions rearguard conceding just twice during that run, with a Bower quick to pay tribute.
He added: “We have had a couple of lads covering with Danny Hall out, but I think Killock is head and shoulders above what we have had there before in terms of experience at this level.
“He has just been able to slot straight in and do the ugly side, which we maybe were struggling a little bit with in terms of balls into our box and dealing with big, strong centre-forwards.
“He has got the experience of that and has settled in alongside Danny Ellis really well.”
With word getting increasingly out regarding Guiseley’s promotion credentials after their recent run, Bower is hoping for a crowd boost tomorrow, with Barrow likely to bring a decent travelling contingent to add to the atmosphere.
He added: “Barrow are by no means close to us, but it is one of the closer trips for them than some of the other teams they play against, so hopefully they will bring a few fans.
“One or two will also maybe come and watch us who came to the play-off games last year and help create a good atmosphere.”
Harrogate host Worcester and Bradford Park Avenue visit Brackley.
Halifax go to Welling in the Vanarama Conference.
IF YOU want to see lots of goals and sharp-shooting strikers, Harrogate Railway are the team to follow.
Rail, who welcome Ossett Town tomorrow, in an Evo-Stik North derby, are running hot, none moreso than goal-hungry marksman Nathan Cartman, who grabbed a sensational treble in last win’s 4-1 slaying of Salford City in the first official outing under the charge of the ‘Class of 92.’
It came after the star-studded quintet of former Manchester United players Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Phil and Gary Neville had their takeover of Salford – alongside billionaire Peter Lim – ratified by the FA.
That hat-trick from the ex-Leeds United junior took his seasonal tally to 20 and for manager Billy Miller, it’s a case of making hay while the sun shines, with the attacking support cast at Rail also a strong one.
Miller, whose side have also hit the heights in beating Scarborough 3-0 said: “Carts is the highest current scorer for every league in the country, from the Northern Counties first division all the way up to the Premier League.
“He is playing really well and we have got two ‘up top’ at the moment with Malachi Farquharson as well, who has scored seven in eight.
“Between the two of them, I think they have notched 33 or 34 goals already this season in terms of league and cup goals.
“Malachi has gone in and is a big plus as well and there are others too. Going forward we look phenomenal.”
He added: “Luke Dean finishes with us for a month on Saturday and we also have Matt Heath from Harrogate Town and I have a really good relationship with Simon (Weaver).
“Luke needed the game time and has been tremendous and Matt has given his that experience that we have needed at the back.
“We have also picked up a young keeper called Tom Goodwin from over Wigan way who has been doing really well too. I had a conversation with a friend over there on the Monday and on Tuesday, he delivered a first-aid course and Tom was on that.
“All this after we have been trying for weeks and weeks to get another goalkeeper. It was sheer chance.”
Elsewhere, Farsley visit Burscough and Ossett Albion and Scarborough welcome Kendal and Bamber Bridge.
Frickley Athletic and Whitby Town host Marine and Barwell in the Premier, while Goole visit Romulus in the First Division South.