GUISELEY’S last encounter with tomorrow’s opponents Boston United must seem like a world away to Mark Bower.
The Lions were in the depths of a slump when they faced the Pilgrims at York Street on September 14, fresh from the departure of long-serving Steve Kittrick, who paid the price for the club’s slow seasonal start of two wins in their opening six Skrill North fixtures.
Guiseley’s were beaten 3-0 in Bower’s first game as caretaker boss at Boston. Four more successive defeats and a draw followed before Guiseley upset the form book to win 3-2 at high-flying North Ferriby on October 23.
Tthey haven’t looked back since and head into tomorrow’s home test with Boston boasting a proud ten-match unbeaten run, which has included eight wins.
Boss Bower, rewarded earlier this week with the Skrill North manager of the month award for November, said: “Saturday will be a really difficult game, but we will go into it in a much better state that we were before the last time that we played them.
“We have certainly turned things around since then and we are playing well now. We aren’t giving teams the chances now.
“But Boston are a big test as they are on a decent run themselves and like us they are doing well in the Trophy, having gone away to a Conference Premier team (Southport) and beat them.”
On the reasons for his side’s stunning upturn, he added: “I just think bringing in a couple of players in the spine of the team has made a really big difference with the likes of Locky (Adam Lockwood), who is an old head.”
Bower, who boosted his squad with the signing of winger Luke Porritt with Zach Dale having joined Curzon Ashton, rested his entire first team aside from Jack Rea in the midweek County Cup win over Selby.
With eight games in the next four weeks – possibly nine if they draw their Trophy clash with Bradford Park Avenue – and at least three derbies, it promises to be a test of the resources of 11th placed Guiseley, one of several clubs out to put pressure on the top five, separated by just a point.
Bower added: “We are trying to catch that group of teams and it will be really difficult. But that’s the aim. There’s a few teams like ourselves and all those teams above us will be beating each other and that might allow someone like us to sneak under if we can keep getting good results.”
Harrogate, two places above Guiseley in ninth, face one of a quartet of sides – like Boston –in joint second on 32 points in Altrincham. Boss Simon Weaver is sweating on the fitness of Ashley Worsfold and Dominic Rowe, whose exit from the fray in Tuesday’s County Cup win over holders FC Halifax Town put a dampener on proceedings.
Avenue, one place below Town and one above Guiseley in tenth spot visit eighth-placed Vauxhall Motors tomorrow.