Optimistic Brooksby believes in Guiseley’s ability to compete at higher level

Wayne Brooksby believes Guiseley are well-equipped to deal with their first season at Conference Premier level, with a couple of new additions to Mark Bower's under-rated squad.
Wayne Brooksby believes Guiseley are well-equipped to deal with their first season at Conference Premier level, with a couple of new additions to Mark Bower's under-rated squad.
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WAYNE BROOKSBY sees no reason why Guiseley cannot emerge as surprise packages in their maiden voyage in the Vanarama National League in 2015-16.

The Lions’ campaign gets underway at Welling on August 8 before a historic first Nethermoor encounter in the fifth tier of English football against Altrincham three days later.

The bookmakers are not exactly overwhelmed with Guiseley’s prospects for success next term with Mark Bower’s side ranked among the sides tipped to struggle along with opening-day opponents Welling and Boreham Wood, but for Brooksby, his glass is half-full.

And the winger has cited FC Halifax’s feats in finishing in the Conference Premier play-offs in 2013-14, the season after being promoted from the Conference North, as something to inspire them.

On whether Guiseley can shock a few people, including many observers who expect them to struggle, Brooksby, who committed his future to the Lions last month, said: “I think we can. I remember FC Halifax finishing fifth in the Conference and we beat them in the FA Trophy and I think we can surprise a few clubs and do alright.

“We have a couple of experienced signings, who will be a massive help to us and if we get a couple more experienced players, we’ll be fine.”

And on committing his future to the club following the glorious highs at the end of last season, when the Lions rallied in magnificent fashion after trailing 2-0 at the interval in their play-off final at Chorley to prevail 3-2, he added: “Guiseley are a good club and moving in the right direction and it is a privilege to be playing for them.

“If an opportunity had come about that was too good to turn down, I maybe would have had to make the move.

“I had a little bit of interest from Conference clubs on similar money, but not any that was good enough to go.

“There was no real need to go after what we achieved last season.

“The final win took a couple of weeks to sink in as you don’t realise what you have achieved until a couple of weeks later.

“It was a great day and this is a massive opportunity for the club.

“There was no better feeling and you would rather win the play-off final than win the league really.

“It was the opposite to the previous season and was such a great feeling and definitely the highlight of my career.”

While Guiseley have been busy securing the futures of a number of last season’s leading lights for 2015-16, manager Bower has also been active in the transfer market in bringing in ex-Doncaster defender Adam Lockwood and former Leeds United trainee Will Hatfield.

The latter has arrived from Accrington Stanley – having ended last season at FC Halifax – and the Liversedge-born utility man is seeking to kick on with Guiseley.

After leaving Leeds, Hatfield, 23, who can play in a number of positions in midfield and defence, joined Stanley in 2012, having previously had a short loan spell at the club.

Hatfield left Accrington by mutual consent at the start of 2015 after playing almost 100 times for the Lancashire outfit.

Despite rival interest, Hatfield was happy to throw in his lot with Guiseley, having spoken to several players there who he knows, including ex-Leeds team-mate Ben Parker, who gave the club a glowing reference.

On joining Guiseley, Hatfield said: “I was in contact with a few other Conference teams and ones from higher above and Guiseley seemed to be the one which was most promising.

“I spoke to Ben and a few others and they were all very complimentary about the club, the set-up and the management.

“This season is a good challenge for myself and the club and it’s a club on the up.

“I am looking forward to pushing Guiseley in the right direction and you never know what could happen next season.

“From the squad in place and with a few more additions, I think we will be fine and in good shape.”

KEY MAN: John Rooney saw his free-kick deflected into the side to give Guiseley the lead in Saturdays 1-1 draw with visiting Dover Athletic.

Non league: Lions make their point in Dover draw