Guiseley all set to take on former boss Paul Cox's Kettering Town

Kettering Town boss Paul Cox.Kettering Town boss Paul Cox.
Kettering Town boss Paul Cox.
THE SENSE of anticipation at Nethermoor tomorrow may not quite hit the expectation levels of the corresponding weekend last season, yet hope is not in short supply either.

This time last year, Guiseley were preparing for their second successive home date in the first round of the FA Cup, against League Two opponents in Cambridge United, with their thrilling 4-3 Remembrance Sunday win likely to stick in the memory banks of the home faithful for many a year.

The Lions’ FA Cup dreams this season may have ended abruptly at Peterborough Sports earlier this autumn, but the bread-and-butter of National League North is providing a lot more tasty fare these days.

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Tomorrow’s scheduled home encounter with struggling Kettering Town is also handed a liberal amount of spice by the presence of ex-Guiseley manager Paul Cox in the opposing dug-out.

Farsley Celtic manager Adam Lakeland.Farsley Celtic manager Adam Lakeland.
Farsley Celtic manager Adam Lakeland.

One of the surprise packages of the division in the opening third of the campaign, a youthful and emerging Guiseley side are sitting pretty inside the play-off positions, having provided goals, entertainment and thrills and spills along the way.

A case in point for sixth-placed Guiseley arrived last weekend when they withstood a strong late rally from Gateshead to record a priceless 3-2 win after racing into a 3-0 advantage.

It helped make up for three defeats on the spin away from home, with a 4-1 loss at AFC Telford having followed 3-1 setbacks at Gloucester and Chester – underlining Guiseley’s status as a work in progress.

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But the highs have far outstripped the lows, with the Lions having scored three goals or more on five occasions already at league level this season, with their potency in front of goal propelling a play-off push.

Joint boss Russ O’Neill said: “At some point they (York) will have a dip, but it is whether the chasing pack are going to be in the right position to take advantage when they do.

“There is still lots to do with the group who are still learning. Hopefully we can keep improving.”

Kettering chief Cox was appointed as the new manager late last month, having been handed a brief to stave off the drop.

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Cox’s opener in charge certainly reaped a harvest with the Poppies thumping fellow strugglers Bradford Park Avenue 4-0.

O’Neill observed: “You look through the Kettering team and they have got experienced players. Paul Cox has worked with a few of the players before.

“He has gone in there and tried to give them a lift. It will be a really tough game.”

One place and one point above Guiseley, Farsley Celtic can also reflect on an stand-out opening to the season, even if it has provided some bumps in the road, much like with their West Yorkshire neighbours.

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Adam Lakeland’s side welcome mid-table Gloucester tomorrow, having been buoyed by a thumping 7-0 demolition of Armthorpe Welfare in the West Riding County Cup in midweek.

It has provided a welcome tonic after back-to-back league losses at Blyth and Kidderminster, which had followed a fine five-match winning sequence.

Lakeland said: “It was good to get the win. We didn’t play well at Blyth and at Kidderminster, the referee rang us a few days later and apologised for the penalty he gave. Every credit to him for doing that, but at the same time it didn’t help us get a result at a very difficult place on a Tuesday night when we had five-and-a-half hours on a coach.

“But when we have had a little sticky patch in the league this season, we have been able to bounce back.”

Avenue host second-placed King’s Lynn tomorrow.